A magnitude 6.3 earthquake in western Afghanistan killed 14 people and injured 78, an official said, predicting the toll could rise amid reports of people buried under collapsed buildings.
“These are the numbers that have been brought to the central hospital so far, but this is not the final figure,” the public health director of Herat province Mohammad Taleb Shahid told reports.
“We have information that people are buried under rubble.”
The United States Geological Survey said the epicentre was 40 kilometres (25 miles) northwest of the region’s largest city of Herat and was followed by five aftershocks with magnitudes of 5.5, 4.7, 6.3, 5.9 and 4.6.
Crowds of residents and shopkeepers fled buildings in the city at around 11:00 am (0630 GMT) as the quakes began, causing 25 injuries and a single fatality, accor ding to a Taliban government spokesman.
“We were in our offices and suddenly the building started shaking,” 45-year-old Herat resident Bashir Ahmad told reporters. “Wall plasters started to fall down and the walls got cracks, some walls and parts of the building collapsed.”
“I am not able to contact my family, network connections are disconnected. I am too worried and scared, it was horrifying,” he said.
National Disaster Management Authority spokesman Mullah Jan Sayeq told reporters the initial toll was “preliminary” and he feared it would rise as “in the rural and mountainous areas there have been landslides as well”.
“Currently, we don’t have all the information and details,” he said.