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Church leaders express condolences after deadly Afghanistan earthquakes

The Church’s Middle East/Africa North Area presidency responds to latest deadly quake in Herat province

The Middle East/Africa North Area presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is expressing sympathy and sadness for those affected by a series of deadly earthquakes that have struck Afghanistan this month.

The earthquakes began Oct. 7. The latest 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck areas northeast of Herat city on Sunday morning, Oct. 15.

The Associated Press reported that more than 90% of the people killed in the initial earthquakes were women and children, because the quakes struck during daytime, while many of the men in the region were working outdoors.

Sunday’s quake was the fourth the U.S. Geological Survey has measured at 6.3 magnitude in the same area in just over a week. Reuters called them the deadliest tremors to rock the mountainous country in years, and among the world’s deadliest quakes this year, after an estimated 50,000 people were killed in Turkey and Syria in February.

More than a dozen Afghan volunteers help pick up pieces of rubble that once was a building.
Afghan volunteers clean up rubble after an earthquake in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, western Afghanistan, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. Another strong earthquake shook western Afghanistan after an earlier one killed more than 2,000 people and flattened whole villages in Herat province in what was one of the most destructive quakes in the country’s recent history. | Ebrahim Noroozi, Associated Press

Daniel Peter Endres, acting U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Afghanistan, described the situation there as “a race against time” for charitable organizations to deliver aid before winter arrives.

“These earthquakes have struck some of the most vulnerable communities in Afghanistan. They have already been grappling with decades of conflicts and under development,” he said in an article from the United Nations news service.

The Church’s Middle East/Africa North Area presidency posted the following statement on the Church’s Middle East Newsroom:

“We are deeply saddened by the destruction resulting from recent earthquakes in Herat province in western Afghanistan. We sorrow for the more than 1,000 people who died and for those who are injured and affected in any way.

“We pray for the people of Afghanistan and extend our sympathy to those who have experienced damage and the loss of loved ones.”

Elder Anthony D. Perkins
Elder Adilson de Paula Parrella
Elder Roland J. Bäck
Middle East/Africa North Area Presidency
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

A backhoe moves rubble from a destroyed building as men, shown in silhouette, search for earthquake victims.
Afghan men search for victims after an earthquake in Zenda Jan district in Herat province, of western Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Saturday’s deadly earthquake killed and injured thousands when it leveled an untold number of homes in Herat province. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi) | Ebrahim Noroozi, Associated Press
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