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At least a thousand dead in powerful earthquake in Afghanistan

At least a thousand dead in powerful earthquake in Afghanistan

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At least 1,000 people were killed and several hundred injured in a 5.9-magnitude earthquake. The ground shook in an isolated border area of ​​eastern Afghanistan. The authorities fear that the balance of victims will continue to increase.

At least 1,000 people were killed and several hundred injured in a massive earthquake that struck an isolated border area in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, according to authorities.

“People dig and dig graves,” said Mohammad Amin Huzaifa, head of Information and Culture of Paktika province, on Wednesday. In his province, the most affected along with Khost, the balance “reached 1,000 dead and the numbers are increasing,” he said. To the dead are added at least 600 wounded.

“It is raining and the houses are destroyed. There is no place to shelter or food. There are people still trapped in the rubble… We need help immediately,” he said.

The magnitude 5.9 earthquake occurred in a remote area in the east, near the border with Pakistan, where the population already lives in very precarious conditions.

The earthquake occurred at a depth of 10 km, around 01:30 on Wednesday, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), which added that a second tremor of magnitude 4.5 shook almost the same place.

According to Yaqub Manzor, a Paktika tribal official, many of the wounded came from Giyan district in the province and were transported by ambulances and helicopters.

“Local markets are closed and people have rushed (to help) to the affected areas,” he told AFP.

Photos of collapsed houses on the streets of a village, in this poor and remote rural region, are seen on social media. And in a video you can see residents transporting the wounded to a helicopter.

“Much of the region is mountainous and movement is difficult. It will take time to evacuate the dead and injured,” said Natural Disasters Minister Mohamad Abas Akhund.

International aid

The country’s rescue services, long limited in numbers and capacity, are ill-adapted to deal with natural disasters of this magnitude.

“The government is doing the best within its capabilities,” tweeted Anas Haqqani, another senior Taliban official. “We hope that the international community and humanitarian organizations will also help people in this terrible situation,” he added.

The earthquake was felt in several provinces in the region, and also in the capital, Kabul, located about 200 km north of the epicenter of the earthquake.

It was also felt in neighboring Pakistan, where one person was killed and several homes were damaged.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said he was “deeply saddened” by this tragedy and assured that the country’s authorities were working to provide their support to their Afghan counterparts.

The UN announced an immediate mobilization to help in the rescue and assistance tasks. “Agency assessment teams are already deployed to several affected areas,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in an Afghan-language tweet.

For his part, the EU’s envoy for Afghanistan, Tomas Niklasson, stated that the bloc “is willing to coordinate and provide emergency aid.”

From Rome, Pope Francis expressed his solidarity with the victims of the earthquake and said he hoped that “with everyone’s help, the suffering of the beloved Afghan people can be alleviated.”

frequent earthquakes

Afghanistan frequently suffers from earthquakes, especially in the Hindu Kush massif, straddling Afghanistan and Pakistan, which is located at the junction of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.

These catastrophes can be especially devastating due to the poor resistance of Afghan rural houses.

In October 2015, a powerful 7.5-magnitude earthquake shook the Hindu Kush mountains, killing at least 380 people in the two countries.

Since the Taliban came to power in August, Afghanistan has been going through a serious financial and humanitarian crisis, caused by the blockade of millions of assets abroad and the suspension of international aid, which had sustained the country for two decades and which now It arrives with dropper.

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Written by Editor TLN

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