Wed. Sep 28th, 2022

After a strong earthquake killed at least 1,000 people and left thousands more homeless, desperate rescuers raced against time and heavy rain on Thursday to reach cut-off districts in eastern Afghanistan.

The rugged east was most hit by Wednesday’s 5.9-magnitude earthquake, which brought down electricity and phone towers and caused rock and mudslides that blocked mountain highways.

The head of information for the severely damaged Paktika province, Mohammad Amin Huzaifa, told AFP on Thursday that “getting information from the ground is really difficult due of bad networks,” adding that the death toll had not yet been updated.

Due to last night’s severe rainfall, “the area has been impacted by flooding… it is also impossible to access the affected places.”
The catastrophe presents a significant logistical challenge for Afghanistan’s new Taliban administration, which has cut itself off from much of the world by enacting strict Islamist law that oppresses women and children.
Following the Taliban takeover in August, the aid-dependent nation had the majority of its foreign help cut off, and even before the earthquake, the UN issued a warning about a humanitarian crisis that threatened the entire population.

According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the international organisation has “completely mobilised” to provide assistance, sending medical personnel, food, medicine, trauma kits, and emergency shelter to the earthquake zone.

Like the Tsunami

According to a tweet from the Afghan government’s spokesman on Thursday, Zabihullah Mujahid, assistance flights had arrived from Iran and Qatar, while Pakistan had dispatched trucks across the land border with tents, food, and medical equipment.

The earthquake caused rockfalls and mudslides that destroyed hamlets placed precariously on steep slopes in areas already affected by excessive rain.
Nearly 2,000 homes were likely destroyed, according to Ramiz Alakbarov, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Afghanistan. This is a significant number in a region where the typical household size is over 20 people.
Bibi Hawa, speaking to AFP from a hospital bed in the Paktika, said, “Seven in one room, five in the other room, four in another, and three in another have been slaughtered in my family.”

I’m at a loss for words because my heart is failing.

Mohammad Yahya Wiar, the hospital’s director, said they were making every effort to treat everyone.

He told AFP that “our country is poor and lacks resources.” “It’s a humanitarian emergency. Similar to a tsunami, it.” The Taliban posted video showing residents of one town creating a lengthy trench to bury the dead, who according to Islamic law must be buried towards Mecca.

Afghanistan’s emergency response services were already overworked from dealing with the country’s numerous natural disasters before the Taliban took control.

However, any rapid response to the most recent calamity is further constrained because there are now so few airworthy aeroplanes and helicopters left since they regained control.

Senior Taliban official Anas Haqqani tweeted, “The government is operating within its capacity.”

We sincerely hope that the international community and assistance organisations will also assist our people in this desperate situation.

Assistance offers

The United States was “deeply saddened” by the earthquake, the White House said. American forces were instrumental in toppling the original Taliban administration and were stationed in Afghanistan for 20 years before being withdrawn last year.
According to National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, “President Biden is keeping an eye on events and has instructed USAID (US Agency for International Development) and other federal government partners to explore US response options to help those most affected.”

The European Union also made a prompt support offer.

“The EU is watching the situation and is ready to coordinate and provide EU emergency support to individuals and impacted communities,” tweeted Tomas Niklasson, the EU’s special ambassador for Afghanistan.
prayers for the injured

The Hindu Kush mountain range, which is close to the meeting point of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates, is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes in Afghanistan.

When two earthquakes devastated the western region of Badghis in January, dozens of people died.
A 7.5-magnitude earthquake that struck Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2015 resulted in the deaths of more than 380 people.

In the northeastern provinces of Takhar and Badakhshan in May 1998, the deadliest recent earthquake in Afghanistan killed 5,000 people.

Pope Francis sent prayers to the victims of the most recent earthquake from the Vatican.

The 85-year-old pontiff concluded his weekly audience by saying, “I express my closeness with the injured and all who were impacted.”

By adele rose

Adele Rose is the senior editor and employee of WGBS Pvt Ltd Digital wing.

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