Two earthquakes with a magnitude of over 5.5 have hit Qatar’s neighbouring countries in the last week.
An earthquake measuring at a 5.9 magnitude has taken the lives of more than 1,150 people and left thousands more homeless in Paktika and Khost provinces in Afghanistan, pushing Qatar, among other nations, to send immediate humanitarian relief to those affected.
Over 120 of reported fatalities were children, according to the United Nations children’s agency representative in Afghanistan, in what has been dubbed as its deadliest disaster in nearly two decades.
Just days later, Iran’s southern Gulf waters were hit by yet another earthquake with a magnitude of 5.6, though no immediate fatalities or damages have been reported.
The earthquake was so strong that it reverberated across several areas of Qatar as well as neighbouring nations like Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Over the last decades, the region has been experiencing several deadly earthquakes that have left thousands dead or homeless— some of which have been felt in Qatar itself.
The number of fatalities depend on the depth of the earthquake (earthquakes that are closer to the surface tend to be more destructive), the density of people in the area, and the amount of force that buildings and other structures can withstand before falling.
With that being said, here are some of the strongest earthquakes that ever hit the region.
The Kashmir earthquake
On 8 October 2005, the Kashmir region and North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan experienced one of the most destructive earthquakes in contemporary times.
The -7.6 magnitude earthquake took the lives of at least 79,000 people and destroyed over 32,000 buildings in Kashmir alone, making it one of the most damaging earthquakes in recent history.
The magnitude was so strong that it left in impact on nearby areas, including Afghanistan and India, which also reported several fatalities and major damage.
Turkey’s largest earthquake
On 27 December 1939, Turkey’s Erzincan was hit by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in the early morning, killing nearly 33,000 people while they were asleep. The aftermath of the earthquake was also disastrous— with blizzards and floods making the city uninhabitable.
After the city was abandoned, a new one was built. However, more magnitude 7 earthquakes struck in the area, and Turkey began to enact building codes to improve building security.
The deadly earthquake of Iran
On 21 June 1990, an estimated 50,000 fatalities and 135,000 injuries were recorded from an earthquake in Iran that struck near the Caspian Sea. The area’s simple-built homes were severely damaged by the 7.7-magnitude tremor, recording one of Iran’s deadliest earthquakes in its history.
In the provinces of Zanjan and Gilan, a 20,000 square mile area was completely destroyed, and an estimated 400,000 people were left homeless.
On 24 September 2013, the region of Awaran, Kech, saw Pakistan’s largest earthquake, hitting 7.7 on the Richter scale. Some 825 people died as a result of the tectonic plates shifting at a depth of 37 km. More deaths and damages were also caused as a result of the tsunami that followed.
Buildings were reported to be trembling and people were seen running onto the streets in New Delhi, India. The earthquake was also felt throughout the Middle East and Asia.
Numerous individuals had to be rescued from damaged structures in Quetta and Karachi in Pakistan, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and even Qatar.