June 2022 Afghanistan earthquake

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June 2022 Afghanistan earthquake
June 2022 Afghanistan earthquake is located in Afghanistan
June 2022 Afghanistan earthquake
June 2022 Afghanistan earthquake is located in Pakistan
June 2022 Afghanistan earthquake
UTC time2022-06-21 20:54:36
ISC event624496986
USGS-ANSSComCat
Local date2022-06-22 (2022-06-22)
Local time01:24:36 (UTC+04:30)
Magnitude6.2 Mw
5.9 Mwb
Depth10.0 km (6.2 mi)
Epicenter33°05′31″N 69°30′50″E / 33.092°N 69.514°E / 33.092; 69.514Coordinates: 33°05′31″N 69°30′50″E / 33.092°N 69.514°E / 33.092; 69.514
TypeStrike-slip
Max. intensityIX (Violent)
Casualties
  • 1,150 dead, 3,000+ injured in Afghanistan
  • 43 dead, 25 injured in Pakistan
  • 1,193 dead, 3,025+ injured (total)

An earthquake measuring moment magnitude (Mw ) 6.2 struck eastern Afghanistan and parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan on 22 June 2022 at 01:24:36 AFT (on 21 June 2022 at 20:54:36 UTC). The most affected provinces were Paktika and Khost. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the earthquake measured Mwb  5.9 and occurred at a depth of 10 kilometres (6.2 mi). A maximum Modified Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent) was evaluated. It was felt over 500 km (310 mi) away by at least 119 million people, in parts of India, in Pakistan's eastern Punjab province, and in Iran.

At least 1,193 people died and more than 2,000 others were injured throughout eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan, making it the deadliest earthquake in 2022 and the deadliest earthquake in Afghanistan since 1998. At least 10,000 homes were heavily damaged or totally destroyed. The earthquake was very destructive relative to its magnitude, due to its shallow hypocenter underneath a densely populated area prone to landslides, in which low-quality buildings made of wood and mud are not earthquake-resistant.

Earthquake

The tectonic plate boundary map of the South Asian region. Afghanistan is located on the left.

More than 7,000 people in Afghanistan have been killed by earthquakes in the past decade, averaging 560 deaths a year. A major earthquake in 2015 in northeast Afghanistan killed more than 200 people in the country and neighboring Pakistan. In 2008, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake in western Pakistan killed 166 people and destroyed several villages from triggered landslides. Earlier earthquakes in 2002 and in 1998 killed over a thousand and about 4,700 people respectively.

Tectonic setting

Much of Afghanistan is situated in a broad zone of continental deformation within the Eurasian Plate. Seismic activity in Afghanistan is influenced by the subduction of the Arabian Plate to the west and the oblique subduction of the Indian Plate in the east. The subduction rate of the Indian Plate along the continental convergent boundary is estimated to be 39 mm/yr or higher. Transpression due to the plates interacting is associated with high seismicity within the shallow crust. Seismicity is detectable to a depth of 300 km (190 mi) beneath Afghanistan due to plate subduction. These earthquakes beneath the Hindu Kush are the result of movement on faults accommodating detachment of the subducted crust. Within the shallow crust, the Chaman Fault represents a major transform fault associated with large shallow earthquakes that forms the transpressional boundary between the Eurasian and Indian Plates. This zone consists of seismically active thrust and strike-slip faults that have accommodated crustal deformation since the beginning of the formation of the Himalayan orogeny. Seismicity is also recorded beneath the Sulaiman Range. These earthquakes tend to display strike-slip faulting due to its abundance and high deformation rate.

Characteristics

The earthquake was the result of shallow strike-slip faulting. Initially reported as a magnitude 6.1 event by the USGS at a depth of 51 km (32 mi), it was later revised to 5.9 (Mwb ) or 6.0 (Mww ) at a depth of 10 km (6.2 mi). It released an energy yield equivalent to 475,000 tons of TNT, 37 times more powerful that the atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima.

The USGS said that it occurred along either a northeast-striking left-lateral fault or northwest-striking right-lateral fault. The GEOSCOPE Observatory reported the earthquake at a magnitude of 6.2 Mw  at a depth of 6 km (3.7 mi), and proposed two fault solutions. The first was a south-southwest–north-northeast striking, 70° west–northwest dipping left-lateral fault. A second solution is on a west-northwest–east-southeast trending, near-vertical, right-lateral fault. The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) reported the magnitude as 5.9 Mw . Meanwhile, the Global Centroid Moment Tensor recorded the event as 6.2 Mw  at 15.1 km (9.4 mi) depth. A magnitude 4.5 aftershock occurred 6 km (3.7 mi) south of the mainshock epicenter, one minute later. On 24 June, another aftershock measuring mb  4.3 was recorded.

Intensity

In Sperah, a maximum intensity of IX (Violent) was reported. Severe shaking was felt in Shamal District, and light shaking was felt in the Afghan capital Kabul and Pakistani cities such as Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar. The earthquake was also felt in parts of Iran and India.

Impact

A strong ground motions map by the USGS showing the varying levels of intensities felt across the region relative to the epicenter.

Afghanistan

The earthquake resulted in at least 1,150 deaths, including 155 children, and 3,000 injuries. The United Nations (UN) cited a death toll of 1,036 and 1,643 people were injured. It is the deadliest earthquake in Afghanistan since the 1998 earthquake. A total of 10,000 homes were partially or totally destroyed. Poor construction practices and building materials contributed to the high death toll. A USGS seismologist said that the earthquake was destructive due to its shallow depth of focus and epicenter in a densely populated, landslide-risk area where buildings are not designed to withstand ground shaking. In addition, weeks of heavy rains prior to the earthquake had weakened the structural integrity of homes. The head of a charity organization said that the death toll was expected to rise as the earthquake affected a region far from medical facilities and occurred at night, when most people were sleeping in their homes. Adding to the death toll was the fact that the average household size was 20.

More than 25 villages were nearly decimated. Schools, hospitals, homes and mosques collapsed. At least 381 of the 1,000+ fatalities were from Paktia. However, it is unclear if these figures were confirmed by the government or if there were more unrecorded deaths. In one village, 17 members of a family died when their home collapsed, with only one surviving member. In Urgun, a major town in the province, up to 40 bodies were recovered. In the Gayan District of Paktika Province, approximately 1,800 homes, or 70 percent of the district's homes, were destroyed, and 238 people were killed there, with 393 others injured. In the Barmal District of Paktika, at least 500 people died, with a thousand others injured. In Khost Province, at least 600 homes were obliterated. In the small village of Gyan, one of the worst affected, the local clinic with the capacity of five patients was heavily damaged. Of the 500 patients admitted to the building, 200 died. The Spera District of Khost, closest to the epicentre, experienced the loss of 40 residents, and 95 were injured. A total of 500 homes were destroyed in the district. Many houses constructed primarily of wood and mud were razed to the ground. Heavy rain and the earthquake contributed to landslides that destroyed entire hamlets.

Initially, Bakhtar News Agency reported a total of 280 deaths, including 100 in Paktia, five in Nangarhar and 25 in Khost. Six hundred (600) injuries were also reported by the agency. In many instances, bodies of the dead were laid on the streets overnight. A Taliban official later urged aid agencies to send aid to the area to prevent further catastrophe. Several apartment buildings in the affected provinces were destroyed. The director-general of Bakhtar News Agency tweeted that over 90 homes were destroyed in Paktika. Landslides also occurred, burying or destroying houses in Khost province.

Pakistan

The earthquake also caused damage and several dozen fatalities in Pakistan. According to Dawn, a local newspaper, 30 tribal members were killed. Ten others were killed and 25 injured when a landslide buried a village in North Waziristan District, affecting 600 people. Injuries were also reported and hospitals in North Waziristan District and South Waziristan District have reserved amenities for potential patients. In Lakki Marwat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a man died when a roof fell on him. Another death was caused by the combined effects of the earthquake and heavy rains, resulting in another roof collapse. In Datakhel, North Waziristan, a checkpoint station collapsed, killing one soldier and injuring two. Some mud houses were also damaged. In Islamabad and Peshawar, shaking was felt, causing panic among residents. It was also felt in Punjab.

Aftermath

Survivors who had lost their homes resorted to sleeping outdoors, although the unpredictable living conditions have made it an issue. Others were invited to reside in the homes of their families or community members. Care International staff said that most of the victims received head injuries, bone fractures and multiple wounds. The also added that injured pregnant women were at risk of miscarriages. The injured individuals were transported to a hospital.

Displaced survivors were left without shelter, food and water as the distribution of aid was hampered. Mass graves were prepared near villages to bury the dead. A tribe leader from Paktika said that many survivors and rescue workers rushed to attend to those affected. Local businesses in the area were closed as people went assist people in the area. Some survivors were reportedly trapped beneath collapsed debris. In some areas, residents faced challenges in attempting to bury bodies due to the lack of equipment. According to Save the Children, over 118,000 children were affected.

Many injured residents were airlifted via helicopters away from the devastated area. Helicopters also delivered medical supplies and food to the region. Survivors were rescued from the rubble without special equipment. Hospitals in the region turned away patients due to the lack of resources. Many residents remained buried beneath rubble. Several injured residents were airlifted out of the village. Medical professionals said that there was a lack of painkillers and antibiotics in the area. A number of injured patients died on the way to hospitals due to badly damaged roads which lengthened the transportation time.

While many hospitals in the affected area are overworked, there is a low inflow of patients at hospitals in Kabul. Heavily damaged roads and the 177 km (110 mi) distance to Kabul from the worst affected areas have prevented many patients from being transferred. Many hospitals in the capital city have the capacity to handle large patient numbers. At the Daoud Khan Military Hospital in Kabul, only five patients arrived via a helicopter. In the Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital, no patients showed up. At Sharana, the capital of Paktika Province, 75 people were brought for treatment. Some patients contracted other illnesses.

Three days later, a magnitude 4.3 aftershock struck in neighbouring Pakistan, killing five people and wounding 11 more in the Gayan District, Afghanistan.

Despite the inflow and distribution of aid, many survivors do not have adequate amounts of food and shelter. In some villages, aid have not been distributed to residents.

On 25 June, the health department in Pakistan declared a state of emergency in the district hospitals of North Waziristan, South Waziristan, Dera Ismail Khan and Bannu. The general-director of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said hospital staff had to cancel leaves to treat critically injured patients from Afghanistan. Trucks from Pakistan also crossed into Afghanistan to bring medica equipments and critical drugs. A team of 70 health professionals from Rescue 1122 was deployed to conduct sugeries and intensive care procedures. At Khost Airport, people with minor injuries were treated at the medical camp. Patients with severe injuries were taken to Waziristan. At least 14 injured victims from Afghanistan have been transferred to Pakistan for medical treatment. At least 60 doctors in Pakistan volunteered to assist in treating the wounded. Afghan medical students studying in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also expressed interest in contributing.

Domestic response

The Ministry of Disaster Management of the Islamic Emirate, along with other relevant officials including governors and other Afghan people are instructed to rush to the affected area as soon as possible, evacuate the martyrs, transport and treat the wounded and take essential steps to provide emergency assistance to the displaced.

We also call on the international community and all humanitarian organizations to help the Afghan people affected by this great tragedy and to spare no effort to help the affected people.

We ask God to save our poor people from trials and harms.

Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada, 22 June 2022

The government of Afghanistan launched rescue operations in the country to prevent further loss of life. Rescue teams arrived via helicopters supplied by the Ministry of Defense. Officials said that the death toll may rise as recovery efforts are ongoing to locate more casualties.

In a statement, Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada instructed the Ministry of Disaster Management and governors to "rush to the affected area as soon as possible", and asked for humanitarian assistance from the international community. Hasan Akhund, the acting Prime Minister of Afghanistan, said that 1 billion afghanis (around US$11.3 million) have been allocated to attending to the needs of the affected population. He also authorized the transportation of relief items to the region. The Afghan Red Crescent Society brought blankets, tents and kitchen sets for affected residents.

Italian medical and aid organization, Emergency, provided seven ambulances and its staff to the area. In a flash update, the UN OCHA said that over 130 injured survivors have been taken to four hospitals. The Afghanistan Ministry of Defense stated that five helicopters participated in evacuation efforts in Paktika. A medical party was also dispatched to the Gayan District. UNICEF said that teams of health and nutrition workers were assigned to work in the districts of Gayan and Barmal, Paktika and Spera, Khost. Care International established a mobile health station and a team consisting medical professionals to deal with first aid.

The transportation of aid to the region have been disrupted by the lack of proper roadways and poor weather. Some roads were damaged due to landslides caused by the earthquake and rainfall. The government also faced difficulties in releasing updated information regarding the situation due to poor Internet reception.

Pakistani military sources in Miranshah said that there were plans to transfer the injured across the border, so medical procedures could be carried out. Bodies of the 30 tribal members killed in Pakistan would be returned to Afghanistan where they came from. The members fled Afghanistan in 2014 during a military operation.

The Taliban said that search and rescue missions were 90 percent completed by the night of 22 June. On 23 June, according to the governor of Paktika Province, the missions ended after 40 hours. The BBC reported that no press conference was held by the Taliban on the second day after the earthquake. A Taliban spokesman said that no additional bodies have been found beneath the rubble in Paktika Province. A spokesman for the Ministry of Disaster Management said there was a shortage in medical supplies.

International response

ECHO Daily Map of the earthquake

Dealing with disasters was a struggle for Afghanistan's emergency services before the Taliban takeover. The Washington Post reports that with many international aid organizations having fled the country after the previous government was overthrown, rescue efforts are likely to progress more slowly. It poses a challenge at the same time that Afghanistan faces flooding and an economic crisis. Many nations have induced sanctions following the Taliban's takeover, especially in the banking sector, cutting the country from much international assistance. Humanitarian aid continues to be available from agencies such as the United Nations (UN). The European Union Special Representative for Afghanistan said that the European Union (EU) is "monitoring the situation" and is ready to provide assistance. On 23 June, the EU announced that Afghanistan would receive €1 million in humanitarian aid to address urgent needs. In a statement by the UN, the funding would be implemented by active humanitarian organizations in Afghanistan.

A spokesman has called for aid agencies to provide supplies to victims to avoid a "humanitarian catastrophe". The head of the Iranian Red Crescent Society said that the organization was ready to provide relief, medical assistance and rescue efforts to the affected parties. In Pakistan, trucks were expected to bring medicine, shelters, blankets and other relief goods across the border to Afghanistan on the orders of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on the night of 22 June. Beginning 23 June, Pakistan distpatched a total of 13 trucks carrying relief materials including tents, tarpaulin, blankets and medicine for the victims in Afghanistan. The Turkish Red Crescent also provided aid in the form of food packs to 500 families.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) responded in a tweet that they would "be issuing a flash update later today with further details on the situation and response". The Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan said that the needs of the affected were being assessed.

The UN said that trauma care, shelter, non-food essentials, food, water and sanitary items were urgently needed and being distributed. A UN official said that the organization does not have the capabilities to carry out search and rescue operations. The UN made a formal request to the embassy of Turkey in Afghanistan to carry out the missions. The cost of an immediate response was evaluated to be about US$15 million. The UN stated that preparations were ongoing to prevent a cholera outbreak.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry offered its condolences and said that the nation was ready to provide emergency assistance to Afghanistan. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs said that India stood "in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan" and remained "firmly committed to provide immediate relief assistance". It dispatched 27 tonnes of emergency relief assistance in two flights, consisting of items like tents, sleeping bags and blankets. At the UNSC briefing on the disaster, India expressed condolences and vowed support, but also warned against "any possible diversion of funds and misuse of exemptions from sanctions". A technical team from India also arrived at Kabul to coordinate the distribution of humanitarian aid. Pope Francis said that he was praying for the victims and has appealed for help to the area. In a statement by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, the United States would be committed to supporting the people of Afghanistan. President Joe Biden has appointed USAID and other relevant federal partners to evaluate the response options. The spokesperson for the United States Department of State, Ned Price, said that the United States would be open to discussion but have not received any requests by the Taliban.

Seiji Kihara, the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan, said that the Japanese government is planning to coordinate relief efforts. South Korea's foreign affairs ministry said that US$1 million worth of humanitarian aid would be provided. The Singapore Red Cross appealed for US$50 thousand in funding. Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it would contribute US$50 thousand to the appeal. Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it would donate US$1 million for homes to be rebuilt. The ministry added that due to the nature of the disaster and physical challenges, no rescue personnel would be involved in rescue and recovery efforts.

The Afghan community in Australia took to social media to appeal for funding. Over A$5 thousand was raised within a few hours of the appeal. Wahidullah Waissi, the ambassador of Afghanistan to Australia, said that the Australian government should "donate generously". The Australian government said that it pledges to donate A$5 million. Penny Wong, Australia's Foreign Minister, said that this was part of the A$140 million Australia pledged to Afghanistan since September 2021.

Two Iranian aircraft arrived at Khost International Airport carrying aid, including food, tents and carpets to be distributed. A third consignment of humanitarian aid was flown into Kabul the following day. Turkish NGO IHH distributed food, blankets and tents to 1,560 survivors in Paktika Province. Malteser International provided €100 thousand worth of emergency relief.

At an UN Security Council meeting on 23 June, aid chief Martin Griffiths said that the Taliban was hindering with the transportation of aid. According to the UN, millions of aid dollars could not be transferred due to the de-risking measures taken by Afghanistan's banking system. The UN launched a system to swap aid dollars in exchange for the local currency in a response to the failing economy and to avoid Taliban leaders. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) provided 30 tons of relief on the instructions of UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) tents, sheeting and blankets have been distributed to the affected. The World Food Programme delivered food to approximately 14,000 individuals. Ten tonnes of medical stockpile supplied was sufficient for 5,400 surgeries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Christian Aid started a GB£100 thousand aid to help survivors. The group said that US$1 hundred, each, would be distributed to between 500 and 700 families. The UN said that US$10 million was allocated by the Central Emergency Response Fund to help victims.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it would deliver US$7.5 million worth of humanitarian relief for the victims. Meanwhile, the United Kingdon's government pledged to provide GB£2.5 million for immediate life-saving assistance. Twenty tonne of food and medicine was supplied by Turkmenistan. An additional 74 tons of aid was provided by Uzbekistan. A Pakistani Lockheed AC-130 and Qatari aircraft arrived at Khost Airport to deliver more aid. The Qatari aircraft originated from Al Udeid Air Base carrying 13 tonnes of aid. IsraAid said it would deliver important medical supplies. About €10 thousand worth of aid was supplied by the Hungarian government and the Hungarian Ecumenical Charity, according to the foreign minister.

The Taliban has repeatedly called for the United States to unfreeze its foreign assets and loosen financial sanctions to ease in the recovery process. Earlier in February 2022, an executive order was released by President Joe Biden to unfreeze half of Afghanistan's US$7 billion in the United States. This was intended for the welfare of the Afghan people.

On June 27, aid agencies said that they had reached nearly all the affected areas. The deputy president of the Afghan Red Crescent Society, Nooruddin Turabi, said that "there is not so much of a need for food or non-food items". He also added that there is enough aid given to the affected. Focus has shifted to long-term relief in the region. The most critical need was cash for survivors to purchase basic needs. The WHO said trauma teams would arrive in Paktika to provide psychological counselling to survivors.

See also

External links