Catastrophic Earthquake hits Afghanistan…
On Tuesday, June 21st, in the late hours of the evening, while many were asleep, an earthquake struck eastern Afghanistan, leaving at least 1,000 people dead and injuring over 1,500 people.
An official of the Taliban has called on for assistance from the UN as many have been left homeless. Hundreds of homes were destroyed by the earthquake that was recorded as a 6.1 magnitude and had a depth of 51km (32miles).
This earthquake has been marked as the deadliest in the region in the past two decades. The locals described this event as a traumatic and horrific event to live through especially having taken place in the late-night hours.
Many of the rural areas where a vast amount of people live in Paktika, a province in eastern Afghanistan, have suffered tremendously due to their home structures being built poorly with mud.
An unknown number of residents were buried in debris during the 6.1 magnitude earthquake. One of the local residents who was admitted into the hospital told the news-press that she had already lost 19 family members, including children, to the earthquake.
The Taliban Official announced on Wednesday, June 22nd, that the search and rescue operations had come to an end in the majority of the region. They noted that the search and rescue efforts were still ongoing in the areas that were more remote.
It was reported by the rescuers and survivors that the villages, roads, and mobile phone towers are in utter disarray as they are situated near the epicenter of the earthquake.
This has made it hard for the United Nations to maneuver through the province to provide emergency shelter and food assistance to the outskirts of Paktika.
A majority of the casualties are from the Gayan and Barmal districts in eastern Afghanistan. It is reported that these districts have had multiple villages collapse leaving many without homes.
More Insights on Afghanistan Earthquake…
When interviewed, a survivor named Shabir recounted his experience. “The ceiling fell down. I was trapped, but I could see the sky. My shoulder was dislocated, my head was hurt but I got out. I am sure that seven or nine people from my family, who were in the same room as me, are dead.”
A large number of badly injured patients are being transferred to another hospital due to the Paktika regional hospital not having enough resources. The hospital they are being referred to is in Kabul, with an average journey of 5 hours to get to under suitable conditions.
The United States expressed its grief for the loss of life, is monitoring the developments, and has directed the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other relevant government partners to evaluate the US response options to help those most affected.
Halibatullah Akhundzadah, a Taliban supreme leader, has begged the international humanitarian community to “help the Afghan people affected by this great tragedy and to spare no effort.”
On Sunday, June 26th, health ministry spokesperson Sharafat Zaman raised concerns about the challenges the survivors of the earthquake might face.
“The people are extremely needy for good and clean water. We ask the international community, [and] humanitarian organizations to help us [with] food and medicine. The survivors might catch diseases because they don’t have proper houses and shelters for living.”
The UN humanitarian office (OCHA) has warned of a potential cholera outbreak in the affected region of Afghanistan.