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Earthquake in Afghanistan

Monday, 26 October 2015

Type of Event:
Earthquake
Location of Event:
Afghanistan
Date of Charter Activation:
26 October 2015
Time of Charter Activation:
18:24:00
Time zone of Charter Activation:
UTC+01:00
Charter Requestor:
UNITAR-UNOSAT on behalf of UN OCHA
Project Management:
UNITAR/UNOSAT

Description of the event

A powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the Hindu Kush region of north eastern Afghanistan at 09:09 UTC on 26 October.

The latest reports indicate that over 100 people have died in Afghanistan and hundreds were injured.

The Hindu Kush region is located in Afghanistan's Badakshan Province, near the Pakistan border, and the neighbouring country has also suffered as a result of the earthquake where over 200 people have died. The Hindu Kush region is mountainous and home to remote settlements, making it difficult to reach those in need.

Rescue teams are hindered by severed communications and landslides which blocked roads.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reports that while the earthquake was on the higher end of the Richter scale (classed as a major earthquake) it occurred at a depth of approximately 210 km which means that it was in effect a relatively shallow earthquake. Because of this, the earthquake caused less damage than seismic activity of this magnitude normally would. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal earlier this year in April, for example, left over 9000 dead.

Though the earthquake was not as severe as it could have been, it still resulted in more than 5600 homes being destroyed in Afghanistan and over 9000 suffered damage. Some of those left homeless are facing harsh winter conditions leading to concerns that without sufficient relief they may be at risk from freezing temperatures and snow.

The earthquake was centred in the Hindu Kush region, but was also felt in Afghanistan's capital city, Kabul, and as far away as regions in India and China.

Damage assessment of Puli Khumri area, in Baghlan Province, Afghanistan

Source: Pleiades / WorldView-2
Acquired: Pleiades: 03/11/2015
WorldView-2: 01/09/2014

Copyright: Pleiades © CNES 2015 - Distribution: Airbus Defence and Space, all rights reserved
WorldView-2 © DigitalGlobe Inc.
Map produced by UNITAR/UNOSAT

Damage assessment of Kalam area, Swat District, in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan

Source: Pleiades / WorldView-1
Acquired: Pleiades: 31/10/2015
WorldView-1: 05/11/2014

Copyright: Pleiades © CNES 2015 - Distribution: Airbus Defence and Space, all rights reserved
WorldView-1 © DigitalGlobe Inc.
Map produced by UNITAR/UNOSAT

Damage assessment of Kalam Area, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan

Source: Pleiades / WorldView-1
Acquired: Pleiades: 31/10/2015
WorldView-1: 05/11/2014

Copyright: Pleiades © CNES 2015 - Distribution: Airbus Defence and Space, all rights reserved
WorldView-1 © DigitalGlobe Inc.
Map produced by UNITAR/UNOSAT

Damage assessment of Aliabad Area, Hunza Nagar District, Pakistan

Source: Pleiades / WorldView-2
Acquired: Pleiades: 31/10/2015
WorldView-2: 12/08/2015

Copyright: Pleiades © CNES 2015 - Distribution: Airbus Defence and Space, all rights reserved
WorldView-2 © DigitalGlobe Inc.
Map produced by UNITAR/UNOSAT

Damage assessment of Chitral area, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan

Source: Pleiades / WorldView-2
Acquired: Pleiades: 31/10/2015
WorldView-2: 12/08/2015

Copyright: Pleiades © CNES 2015 - Distribution: Airbus Defence and Space, all rights reserved
WorldView-2 © DigitalGlobe Inc.
Map produced by UNITAR/UNOSAT

Damage assessment of Fayzabad area, in Badakshan Province, Afghanistan

Source: Pleiades / WorldView-3
Acquired: Pleiades: 28/10/2015
WorldView-3: 20/06/2015

Copyright: Pleiades © CNES 2015 - Distribution: Airbus Defence and Space, all rights reserved
WorldView-3 © DigitalGlobe Inc.
Map produced by UNITAR/UNOSAT

Damage assessment of Kunduz area, in Kunduz Province, Afghanistan

Source: Pleiades / WorldView-2
Acquired: Pleiades: 28/10/2015
WorldView-2: 21/10/2015

Copyright: Pleiades © CNES 2015 - Distribution: Airbus Defence and Space, all rights reserved
WorldView-2 © DigitalGlobe Inc.
Map produced by UNITAR/UNOSAT