Afghanistan: Three questions about the current situation in Herat following the earthquake [Updates]

[Update on 15/10]

A third earthquake, measuring 6.3 magnitude, struck Herat today. Herat Regional Hospital received over 100 injured, who are being treated alongside those admitted earlier in the week. The population is very on edge and even before this earthquake many people were sleeping outside, in their cars, or in tents either because their homes had been destroyed or they did not want to stay inside.

[Update on 11/10]

This morning, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Herat, which is the same magnitude as the initial earthquake that occurred on Saturday. Several aftershocks were experienced over the next hour. Herat Regional Hospital has received 117 injured patients, and our team in the hospital set up four additional tents to help accommodate the influx of patients. Three will be used for admission of stabilised and post-surgical patients, while one tent will serve as a triage area for incoming wounded individuals. This brings to 10 the total number of tents sent up by MSF for the earthquake response. 


Following on from the earthquake that hit Herat in western Afghanistan on 7/10 (Saturday), we asked the Head of Programme who is now on the ground there to give us an update of the current situation:

What is the situation in Herat now?

Today, Herat is still experiencing aftershocks, which is unsettling for everyone. According to data from the Ministry of Public Health and Herat Regional Hospital, there have been 2,445 reported deaths and 2,440 injuries in Herat Province so far. However, as you can imagine in situations like this data is hard to verify and the figures may change. 

As of today, over 540 patients have been treated at Herat Regional Hospital where MSF teams are supporting, and other patients have been treated in private hospitals.

Most of the cases are women and children, likely because when the earthquake hit mid-morning, they were the ones at home.

What is MSF doing?

This morning there were still 340 patients in the regional hospital, mostly classified as mild to moderate. Many are in the tents set up by MSF because even though they could be discharged they don’t have homes to return to. The authorities are looking into how to accommodate them. 

MSF teams in different parts of Afghanistan sent additional supplies yesterday, and the Herat team donated mass casualty medical supplies to the regional hospital, enough to treat 400 people. 

A team made up of operational, medical and logistical staff left today to assess some of the most-affected areas outside of the city and to provide medical first-aid. 

What will happen next?

MSF teams continue to be very busy and will continue to support the Herat Regional Hospital. Our response will adapt if needed, as the situation becomes clearer both in the city and in the districts. The most immediate need at the hospital right now is to find shelter for those people who have lost everything.