An earthquake in Afghanistan has killed at least 26 people in a drought-ravaged area

At least 26 people were killed after an earthquake struck western Afghanistan on Monday, an official said.

The victims died when the roofs of their houses collapsed in the Qadis district of the western province of Badghis, Baz Mohammad Sarwary, a spokesman for the province, told AFP.

The shallow earthquake was magnitude 5.3, according to the US Geological Survey.

“Five women and four children are among the 26 people killed in the quake,” Sarwary said, adding that four more were injured.

The quake also damaged residents of the province’s Muqr district, but details, including victims, were still unavailable, he said.

Afghanistan is already on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe, exacerbated by the Taliban’s takeover of the country in August when Western countries froze international aid and access to assets held abroad.

Qadis is one of the areas worst affected by a devastating drought, and has not benefited much from international aid in the last 20 years.

The country is often hit by earthquakes, especially in the Hindu Kush mountain range, which is close to the junction between the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.

Earthquakes can cause significant damage to poorly built houses and buildings in poor Afghanistan.

In 2015, nearly 280 people were killed when a magnitude 7.5 earthquake in the mountain range tore across South Asia, with the majority of deaths in Pakistan.

In that disaster, 12 young Afghan girls were crushed to death in a race as they tried to escape from their shaky school building.

(AFP)

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