Detrimental Earthquake Hits Afghanistan and Neighboring Countries

A deadly earthquake hit northeastern Afghanistan on Monday, Oct. 26.

Ilaria Cobb, Columnist

An earthquake of 7.5 magnitude shook Afghanistan as well as Pakistan, India, and Tajikistan on Monday, Oct. 26. Hundreds have been reported as dead and even more are severely injured. The earthquake’s epicenter, being the place where the earthquake was centered, was in a rural area 45 miles south of Faizabad. The houses in this area are usually made of brick and prone to collapsing, so many are left homeless.   

The earthquake was of a very large magnitude. There is an average of 20 earthquakes in the magnitude of 7.0-7.9 every year, and it’s these earthquakes that cause serious damage. This earthquake was of a 7.5 magnitude and lasted for over 45 seconds. Fortunately, for the people in this region, the earthquake was approximately 125 feet below the surface of the earth. Though this may seem like a small consolation, an earthquake that is closer to the surface causes significantly more damage. For example, an earthquake of similar magnitude struck Afghanistan on Oct. 5, 2005. This earthquake had a magnitude of 7.6, the epicenter was in the capital of Pakistan called Kashmir. Though this quake was similar in magnitude, it was a mere 16 feet below ground and resulted in more than 80,000 deaths and left more than 4 million homeless.

The epicenter of this earthquake was in a rural area near the Badakhshan district of Jarm. It destroyed many of the existing roads. Teams have set off on foot to the city nearest Badakhshan called Chitral. The only ways to access the city is on foot or by air. Air support will come after there is a report from the teams on foot. Thousands of people are outdoors, braving the freezing temperatures, for fear of aftershocks. Even the Taliban has offered soldiers to help with disaster relief. The day of the earthquake, the prime minister gave permission to all military forces to begin rescue effort without specific orders; everybody is pitching in.

In the first two days, the death toll rose to over 375 and approximately 7,600 homes have been destroyed. Though people have set out on foot trying to get to the village that was near the epicenter, it could be days before any news is reported. Despite this massive tragedy, people are doing everything in their power to help. We offer our condolences to those who have experienced this earthquake.