On October 7, 2023, a Saturday morning, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 on the Richter scale shook western Afghanistan. This earthquake, which was accompanied by several large aftershocks and had its center near the city of Herat, has caused many casualties.
The Hamoon Mobile Health Team has been sent there immediately after the news of the severe earthquake in Herat reached us. As soon as the Hamoon mobile health team reached Herat, we went to the area where the earthquake had struck harder to provide medical services to those who were injured.
We know too well that earthquakes and other natural disasters leave more victims here than in any other country, because in Afghanistan power is in the hands of people for whom human life is valueless. The inhuman government of the Taliban hasn’t provided any facilities or support to help the victims of the earthquake. Local people had to help each other to pull out of the rubble those who were under the debris.
Upon reaching the scene, we all shed tears of pain, sadness and anger. Our land is like a motherless child left in a forest among wild wolves. The people sent by the Taliban treated the victims of the earthquake like animals. Completely unmoved, the Taliban have watched the death of those who could have survived if health services had arrived in time.
Taliban officials would reach the devastated area by plane to show their interest to the world, only to leave the place after a few pictures, while they could have used their plane to transport many injured people to the hospital. They just laughed at the misery of our people and watched their death with joy because every fatal incident in Afghanistan adds to the huge amount of money they steal from our people.
The Hamoon mobile health team went to 12 destroyed villages and provided health services. Most of the injured and victims were women and children. Many men were able to leave their homes and save their lives, while many women died in the attempt to save the lives of their young children buried under the debris, and those who survived were seriously injured.
In addition to doctors who would take care of the wounds and the urgent needs of the sick, the Hamoon Mobile Health Team also included two psychologists to provide services and psychological assistance to those who were shocked.
The majority of those who were saved from death were in shock: they had seen utter destruction and had lost most of their families. They were left alone, with no place to live, and no food to eat. Their eyes showed pain and misery. At night they were sleeping in the streets, and during the day searched in the rubble for the bodies of their family members. It was a terrible scene. Every human's heart was torn by seeing the painful scenes of innocent women and children dying.
When we reached one of the villages where all the houses had been destroyed by the earthquake, we met a woman who was lying on the ground, her face covered in dust. Our doctors rushed to her and with great effort they lifted her up and entered the tent. She was crying and moaning, screaming that she didn’t want to live anymore. We tried to console her and gave her food and water, and then we tried to talk to her.
Her name was Fatima. She was desperate because she hadn’t been able to save her children. Fatima's moans are with us every day and every moment, the pain and anger that was in her unrestrainable tears will remain in our memories forever.