Afghanistan earthquake: Villagers search for survivors with at least 1,000 dead

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Villagers rushed to hide the dormant Thursday and dug by manus done the rubble of their homes successful hunt of survivors of a almighty earthquake successful eastbound Afghanistan that killed astatine slightest 1,000 people. The Taliban and the planetary assemblage that fled their takeover struggled to bring assistance to the disaster’s victims.

Under a leaden entity successful Paktika province, which was the epicentre of Wednesday’s magnitude six earthquake, men dug a enactment of graves successful 1 village, arsenic they tried to laic the dormant to remainder rapidly successful enactment with Muslim tradition. In 1 courtyard, bodies laic wrapped successful integrative to support them from the rains that are hampering alleviation efforts for the living.

The quake was Afghanistan’s deadliest successful 2 decades, and officials said the toll could rise. An estimated 1,500 others were reported injured, the state-run Bakhtar News Agency said.

“They don’t person thing to eat, they are wondering what they tin person to eat, and it is besides raining,” a Bakhtar newsman said successful footage from the quake zone. “Their houses are destroyed. Please assistance them, don’t permission them alone.”

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The catastrophe heaps much misery connected a state wherever millions already faced expanding hunger and poorness and the wellness strategy has crumbled since the Taliban retook powerfulness astir 10 months agone amid the U.S. and NATO withdrawal. The takeover led to a cutoff of captious planetary financing, and astir of the satellite has shunned the Taliban government.

How the planetary humanitarian community, which has pulled backmost important resources from the country, volition beryllium capable to connection assistance and whether the Taliban authorities volition let it to stay successful question.

In a uncommon move, the Taliban’s ultimate leader, Haibatullah Akhundzadah, pleaded for assistance from the satellite Wednesday — but a UN authoritative said the authorities had not requested that the satellite assemblage mobilize planetary search-and-rescue teams oregon get instrumentality from neighboring countries.

“We inquire from the Islamic Emirate and the full state to travel guardant and assistance us,” said a subsister who gave his sanction arsenic Hakimullah. “We are with thing and person nothing, not adjacent a structure to unrecorded in.”

The afloat grade of the demolition among the villages tucked successful the mountains was dilatory successful coming to light. The roads, which are rutted and hard to question successful the champion of circumstances, whitethorn person been severely damaged successful the quake, and landslides from caller rains person made immoderate impassible. Though conscionable 175 kilometres straight southbound of the capital, Kabul, immoderate villages successful hard-hit Gayan District took a afloat day’s thrust to reach.

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 UN' 1:38 $15M requested for ‘immediate needs’ successful aftermath of devastating Afghanistan quake: UN

$15M requested for ‘immediate needs’ successful aftermath of devastating Afghanistan quake: UN

Walls and roofs of dozens of homes successful the territory collapsed successful the quake, and villagers said full families were buried nether the rubble. Associated Press journalists counted immoderate 50 bodies successful the country alone, arsenic radical laid retired their dormant successful beforehand of their houses and successful their courtyards.

Much of the rubble was excessively ample for radical to determination with their hands oregon shovels. They said they hoped ample excavators would marque it retired their distant homes. For now, determination was lone 1 bulldozer successful the area.

While modern buildings withstand magnitude six earthquakes elsewhere, Afghanistan’s mud-brick homes and landslide-prone mountains marque specified quakes much dangerous. Shallow earthquakes besides thin to origin much damage, and experts enactment the extent of Wednesday’s astatine conscionable 10 kilometres.

Rescuers rushed successful by chopper — and AP journalists besides saw ambulances successful the quake portion connected Thursday — but wider alleviation effort could beryllium hindered by the exodus of galore planetary assistance agencies from Afghanistan aft the Taliban takeover past August. Moreover, astir governments are wary of dealing straight with the Taliban.

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Still, officials from respective UN agencies said the Taliban were giving them afloat entree to the area.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid wrote connected Twitter that 8 trucks of nutrient and different necessities from Pakistan arrived successful Paktika. He besides said Thursday that 2 planes of humanitarian assistance from Iran and different from Qatar had arrived successful the country.

Obtaining much nonstop planetary assistance whitethorn beryllium much difficult: Many countries, including the U.S., funnel humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan done the UN and different specified organizations to debar putting wealth successful the Taliban’s hands.

In a quality bulletin Thursday, Afghanistan authorities tv made a constituent to admit that U.S. President Joe Biden — their one-time force — offered condolences implicit the earthquake and had promised aid. Biden connected Wednesday ordered the U.S. planetary assistance bureau and its partners to “assess” options for helping the victims, a White House connection said.

The decease toll reported by Bakhtar was adjacent to that of a quake successful 2002 successful bluish Afghanistan. Those are the deadliest since 1998, erstwhile an earthquake that was besides 6.1 successful magnitude and consequent tremors successful the distant northeast killed astatine slightest 4,500 people.

Wednesday’s quake was centered successful Paktika province, astir 50 kilometres southwest of the metropolis of Khost, according to neighboring Pakistan’s Meteorological Department.

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In neighboring Khost province’s Speray district, which besides sustained superior damage, men stood atop what erstwhile was a mud home. The quake had ripped unfastened its timber beams. People sat extracurricular nether a makeshift structure made of a broad that blew successful the breeze.

Survivors rapidly prepared the district’s dead, including children and an infant, for burial. Officials fearfulness much dormant volition beryllium recovered successful the coming days.

“It is hard to stitchery each the nonstop accusation due to the fact that it is mountainous area,” said Sultan Mahmood, Speray district’s chief. “The accusation that we person is what we person gathered from the residents of these areas.”

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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