Hundreds of people are feared dead and at least 1,000 are injured after a powerful earthquake hit western Afghanistan, near the Iranian border.

The 6.3 magnitude quake struck about 40km from the western city of Herat at around 11:00 local time (06:30 GMT).

Many buildings were damaged, trapping people under rubble and there were at least three powerful aftershocks.

Survivors described their terror as office buildings first shook – and then collapsed around them.

“We were in our offices and suddenly the building started shaking. Wall plaster started to fall down and the walls got cracks, some walls and parts of the building collapsed.” Herat resident Bashir Ahmad told news agency AFP.

The province’s disaster management chief Mosa Ashari told reporters: “So far more than 1,000 injured women, children, and elderly citizens have been included in our records, and about 120 people have lost their lives.”

Early reports put the confirmed toll at 15, but this was always likely to rise once emergency workers confirmed the full scale of the widespread destruction. Unconfirmed reports put the current toll at more than 300.

Video footage said to be from Herat Central Hospital showed numerous casualties linked up to portable intravenous drips being treated on the tarmac outside the main building – a sign of the sudden and overwhelming demand for emergency treatment.


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