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Western Afghanistan has been hit once more by an earthquake

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Western Afghanistan has been hit once more by an earthquake. Here's NPR's Diaa Hadid.

DIAA HADID, BYLINE: Three people died in the most recent earthquake that hit Saturday. Dr. Asif Kabir is a deputy of the public health department in the western province of Herat.

ASIF KABIR: (Non-English language spoken).

HADID: He tells NPR producer Fazelminallah Qazizai, there were few fatalities because so many homes were already destroyed by previous quakes. People were already sleeping in the open. Since this round of earthquakes begun, locals say 10 villages were totally flattened. The Taliban government says more than 1,000 people have died, most women and children.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Crying).

HADID: In video provided by the U.N., one woman weeps as she pushes through rubble with her hands to find what remains.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Crying).

HADID: Nearby, men stand on top of rubble and dig.

(SOUNDBITE OF DIGGING)

HADID: In another video shared on social media, two boys paw through mud bricks. They say they're looking for onions. Folks never had much to begin with around here.

PHILIPPE KROPF: It's absolute devastation.

HADID: Philippe Kropf is a spokesman for the U.N.'s World Food Program. He says, while the U.N. is responding...

KROPF: We are still being hampered by these new earthquakes, by several aftershocks.

HADID: And there was also a sandstorm that blew away tents that people had pitched after their homes were destroyed.

KROPF: So the situation is still evolving, unfortunately, and we currently do not know how many people now need assistance or even how many people have died or been injured.

HADID: And while emergency aid is coming in, it's not clear how long it will last. The U.N. has struggled to raise money for Afghans. Donor countries are being asked to fund the response to several global disasters, and some countries are tired of the Taliban flinging up obstacles like sudden bans on operating. But the need remains dire.

KROPF: Already, one-third of the population doesn't know where their next meal will come from. Now we have this catastrophe on top of this.

HADID: And the earthquakes just don't appear to be stopping as this part of Afghanistan prepares for winter.

Diaa Hadid, NPR News, Mumbai.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Diaa Hadid chiefly covers Pakistan and Afghanistan for NPR News. She is based in NPR's bureau in Islamabad. There, Hadid and her team were awarded a Murrow in 2019 for hard news for their story on why abortion rates in Pakistan are among the highest in the world.