Pakistan and Afghanistan's Damage From the March 2023 Earthquake (Updates)
In March 2023, a magnitude-6.5 earthquake shook Pakistan and Afghanistan, resulting in some damage, fatalities, and injuries.
While many in North America spent Tuesday, March 21 welcoming peaceful spring weather, conditions in both Pakistan and Afghanistan were less than ideal.
A 6.5-magnitude quake shook northwestern Pakistan, northeast Afghanistan, and even part of Tajikistan. Pakistan's earthquake damage was relatively significant, while both countries lost a handful of people, who unfortunately succumbed to injuries as a result of crumbling buildings.
Bilal Faizi, a spokesman for Pakistan's emergency Rescue 1122 service in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, told The Associated Press that over 200 people were brought to nearby hospitals from going into shock, alone. Howerver, most of these patients were luckily able to be discharged.
“These terrified people collapsed, and some of them collapsed because of the shock of the earthquake,” Faizi explained.
Fortunately, the damage wasn't as bad as past quakes, but the storm left a mark on affected communities nonetheless.
"It was a powerful earthquake and we feared maximum damage due to the intensity — that's why we issued an alert," Faizi also stated via Zawya. "But fortunately our fears proved wrong. Residents panicked due to the magnitude of the earthquake, but the damage was minimal."
What to know about the damage from the March 2023 Pakistan-Afghanistan earthquake:
Most of the damage sustained from the earthquake has been relatively minimal, per The BBC, but considering the strength of the quake, ensuing landslides, injuries, and fatalities, it was tragic nonetheless.
Many homes and buildings in both Pakistan and Afghanistan toppled over from the intensity of the shakes, and were crushed from falling debris. In Pakistan's capital city of Islamabad, entire buildings cracked, which resulted in mass evacuations that spanned blocks long.
Several power and phone lines were affected, resulting in outages and communication issues, while roads — including the highway in Pakistan's hard-hit Swat region — were blocked by landslides. Disaster agencies are now in the process of providing aid to help the victims, per demands from Pakistan Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, but because many of the affected communities are highly remote, and situated in rugged areas the relief and rescue processes are likely to take longer than normal.
As of publication, according to The BBC, there were nine confirmed deaths in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and three in Afghanistan — one of which was a small child. Many also sustained injuries from crumbling buildings and falling debris. Rescue efforts are ongoing, but hopefully ore will make it out safely.
So, how can we help those affected?
How to help the victims of the March 2023 earthquake in Pakistan and Afghanistan:
There are a number of measures you can take to help those affected by the latest quake to shake the Middle East.
Even though this quake wasn't quite as disastrous as past earthquakes in the area, you can donate to or volunteer your time with Pakistan Red Crescent, which is a major humanitarian organization in that provides disaster relief and aid to Pakistani families in need.
Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund is another that will likely set up a fund solely dedicated to the cleanup process from this earthquake. You can also help them out IRL if you live nearby.
The people of Pakistan and Afghanistan are in our thoughts today as cities and affected families continue to recover.