The Earth is shaking from all its "joints"

English Section / 10 octombrie 2023

The Earth is shaking from all its "joints"

Versiunea în limba română

The Earth is literally trembling. In several areas around the globe, earthquakes have been recorded in recent days. Over 2,000 people have died as a result of violent earthquakes that occurred in western Afghanistan, causing significant material damage, according to a new official report. An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 struck the regions 30 kilometers northwest of the city of Herat on Saturday, followed by eight strong aftershocks. "2,053 people have died in 13 villages. 1,240 people were injured. 1,320 houses were completely destroyed," said Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesperson for the Taliban government, citing data from the Disaster Management Agency, on the X social network.

In the village of Sarboland in the Zinda Jan district, dozens of houses were completely destroyed, as observed by an AFP journalist on Saturday evening. Men were involved in clearing the rubble, while women and children waited outdoors amidst the debris. "Unfortunately, the number of victims is very high. The death toll has risen to over 1,000," said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesperson for the Taliban government. "We are waiting to see the final figures," he continued. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 600 houses were destroyed or partially damaged in at least 12 villages in the Herat province. In total, 4,200 people have been affected in some way by this series of earthquakes, according to the same source. "Since the first earthquake, all the houses collapsed," said a local resident, 42-year-old Bashir Ahmad. "Those inside the houses were covered in rubble. There are entire families from whom we have no news," he added. On Saturday, the WHO warned that "the number of victims is expected to increase as search and rescue operations continue." In Herat, considered the cultural capital of Afghanistan, many residents and merchants fled buildings at the first earthquake. The Herat province, which has 1.9 million inhabitants according to World Bank data, has been suffering for several years due to drought, which has paralyzed many agricultural communities already affected by a series of difficulties. Afghanistan is frequently hit by earthquakes, especially in the Hindu Kush mountain region, which is near the junction of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates. In June 2022, an earthquake, the most devastating recorded in Afghanistan in almost 25 years, killed over 1,000 people and left tens of thousands homeless in the impoverished Paktika province in the country's southeast. In March 2023, a magnitude 6.5 earthquake killed 13 people in Afghanistan and Pakistan, near the town of Jurm in the country's northeast. Afghanistan is also facing a severe humanitarian crisis following the return of the Taliban to power in 2021 and the withdrawal of international aid.

A 6.7 magnitude earthquake occurred on Saturday in Papua New Guinea, 56 kilometers southeast of the city of Madang, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), as reported by Reuters and EFE. The earthquake occurred at a depth of 53.5 kilometers, according to the USGS, which revised down the previously reported magnitude of 7. No immediate casualties or material damage were reported as a result of this earthquake, according to EFE. Papua New Guinea is located on the so-called "Ring of Fire" in the Pacific, an area with intense seismic and volcanic activity, experiencing about 7,000 earthquakes per year, most of them moderate.

A 6.3 magnitude earthquake occurred on Friday night in southern Mexico, with tremors felt as far as the capital, Ciudad de Mexico, according to the national seismology service on the X social network (formerly Twitter), as reported by AFP. The United States Geological Survey (USGS), cited by Reuters, reported a magnitude of 5.9. The epicenter of the earthquake was located in the city of Matias Romero in the state of Oaxaca. According to the USGS, the earthquake had a depth of 108 kilometers. The earthquake was felt in several areas of the Mexican capital, which issued an alert that prompted dozens of people to leave their homes. "We felt a slight shock," wrote Marti Batres on the X social network, the mayor of Ciudad de Mexico, where nearly nine million people live. "For now, no damage has been reported," he added. Authorities are "examining the possible effects" of the earthquake in the state of Oaxaca, said its governor, Salomon Jara. Mexico is also located on the "Ring of Fire" in the Pacific. On September 19, 2017, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake killed 369 people, most of them in Ciudad de Mexico. In 1985, an 8.1 magnitude earthquake devastated the center of the capital, killing over 10,000 people.