25 C
Colombo

Afghanistan quake: Taliban appeal for international aid

Published:

Afghanistan’s Taliban have requested international assistance as the country deals with the aftermath of a devastating 6.1 magnitude earthquake.

Over 1,000 people have been killed, and at least 1,500 have been injured. Unknown numbers of people are buried beneath the rubble of ruined, often mud-brick homes.

The UN is rushing to provide emergency shelter and food aid in the south-eastern Paktika province.

Heavy rain and a lack of resources are hampering rescue efforts.

Survivors and rescuers have told the BBC of villages completely destroyed near the epicentre of the earthquake, as well as ruined roads and cell phone towers, and their fears that the death toll will rise further.

The country’s deadliest earthquake in two decades poses a major challenge to the Taliban, the Islamist movement that reclaimed power last year after the Western-backed government collapsed.

The earthquake occurred about 44 kilometers (27 miles) from Khost, and tremors were felt as far away as Pakistan and India.

Afghanistan is in the grip of a humanitarian and economic crisis, and a senior Taliban official, Abdul Qahar Balkhi, stated that the government is “financially unable to assist the people to the extent that is required.”

He said that aid agencies, neighboring countries, and world powers were assisting, but that “assistance needs to be scaled up to a very large extent because this is a devastating earthquake that hasn’t been seen in decades.”

António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, stated that the organization was “fully mobilized” in response to the disaster. According to UN officials, health teams, medical supplies, food, and emergency shelters were on their way to the earthquake zone.

So far, the majority of the casualties have occurred in Paktika’s Gayan and Barmal districts. Gayan’s entire village has reportedly been destroyed.

“There was a rumbling, and my bed started to shake,” one survivor, Shabir, described.

“The ceiling collapsed. I was suffocating, but I could see the sky. My shoulder was dislocated, and my head hurt, but I managed to escape. I am certain that seven or nine members of my family who were in the same room as me are no longer alive “.

Afghan boys sit near their house which was destroyed in an earthquake in the southwestern part of Khost province on Wednesday

According to a doctor in Paktika, medical personnel were among those killed.

“Before the earthquake, we didn’t have enough people or facilities, and now the earthquake has destroyed what little we had,” the medic explained. “I’m not sure how many of our coworkers are still alive.”

Communication is difficult following the quake due to damage to mobile phone towers, and the death toll could rise further, a local journalist in the area told the BBC.

“Many people are unaware of their relatives’ well-being because their phones are not working,” he explained. “My brother and his family died, and I only found out about it after many hours. A large number of villages have been destroyed.”

Afghanistan is prone to earthquakes due to its location in a tectonically active region, which includes the Chaman fault, the Hari Rud fault, the Central Badakhshan fault, and the Darvaz fault.

More than 7,000 people have died in earthquakes in the country over the last decade, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Earthquakes kill an estimated 560 people each year.

In January, two earthquakes in the country’s west killed more than 20 people and destroyed hundreds of homes.

Even before the Taliban took over, Afghanistan’s emergency services were overburdened by natural disasters, with few planes and helicopters available to rescuers.

However, the country has recently faced a medical supply shortage.

According to the UN, 93 percent of Afghan households are food insecure. According to the Red Cross’ Lucien Christen, Afghanistan’s “dire economic situation” means that “they [Afghan families] are unable to put food on the table.”

Afghanistan’s Taliban have requested international assistance as the country deals with the aftermath of a devastating 6.1 magnitude earthquake.

Over 1,000 people have been killed, and at least 1,500 have been injured. Unknown numbers of people are buried beneath the rubble of ruined, often mud-brick homes.

The UN is rushing to provide emergency shelter and food aid in the south-eastern Paktika province.

Heavy rain and a lack of resources are hampering rescue efforts.

Survivors and rescuers have told the BBC of villages completely destroyed near the epicentre of the earthquake, as well as ruined roads and cell phone towers, and their fears that the death toll will rise further.

The country’s deadliest earthquake in two decades poses a major challenge to the Taliban, the Islamist movement that reclaimed power last year after the Western-backed government collapsed.

The earthquake occurred about 44 kilometers (27 miles) from Khost, and tremors were felt as far away as Pakistan and India.

Afghanistan is in the grip of a humanitarian and economic crisis, and a senior Taliban official, Abdul Qahar Balkhi, stated that the government is “financially unable to assist the people to the extent that is required.”

He said that aid agencies, neighboring countries, and world powers were assisting, but that “assistance needs to be scaled up to a very large extent because this is a devastating earthquake that hasn’t been seen in decades.”

António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, stated that the organization was “fully mobilized” in response to the disaster. According to UN officials, health teams, medical supplies, food, and emergency shelters were on their way to the earthquake zone.

So far, the majority of the casualties have occurred in Paktika’s Gayan and Barmal districts. Gayan’s entire village has reportedly been destroyed.

“There was a rumbling, and my bed started to shake,” one survivor, Shabir, described.

“The ceiling collapsed. I was suffocating, but I could see the sky. My shoulder was dislocated, and my head hurt, but I managed to escape. I am certain that seven or nine members of my family who were in the same room as me are no longer alive “.

According to a doctor in Paktika, medical personnel were among those killed.

“Before the earthquake, we didn’t have enough people or facilities, and now the earthquake has destroyed what little we had,” the medic explained. “I’m not sure how many of our coworkers are still alive.”

Communication is difficult following the quake due to damage to mobile phone towers, and the death toll could rise further, a local journalist in the area told the BBC.

“Many people are unaware of their relatives’ well-being because their phones are not working,” he explained. “My brother and his family died, and I only found out about it after many hours. A large number of villages have been destroyed.”

Afghanistan is prone to earthquakes due to its location in a tectonically active region, which includes the Chaman fault, the Hari Rud fault, the Central Badakhshan fault, and the Darvaz fault.

More than 7,000 people have died in earthquakes in the country over the last decade, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Earthquakes kill an estimated 560 people each year.

In January, two earthquakes in the country’s west killed more than 20 people and destroyed hundreds of homes.

Even before the Taliban took over, Afghanistan’s emergency services were overburdened by natural disasters, with few planes and helicopters available to rescuers.

However, the country has recently faced a medical supply shortage.

According to the UN, 93 percent of Afghan households are food insecure. According to the Red Cross’ Lucien Christen, Afghanistan’s “dire economic situation” means that “they (Afghan families) are unable to put food on the table.”

Related articles

Recent articles