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Afghanistan quake: “Digging grave after grave”, says official

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An Afghan man sits near his house that was destroyed in an earthquake in the Spera District of the southwestern part of Khost Province, Afghanistan on Wednesday.

AFGHANISTAN: The death toll from the powerful 6.1 magnitude earthquake that struck a remote border region of Afghanistan killing at least 1,000 people and injuring hundreds more on Wednesday was expected to rise as desperate rescuers dig through collapsed dwellings.

“People are digging grave after grave,” said Mohammad Amin Huzaifa, head of the Information and Culture Department in hard-hit Paktika, adding that at least 1,000 people had died in that province alone.

“It is raining also, and all houses are destroyed. People are still trapped under the rubble,” he told journalists.

The quake was Afghanistan’s deadliest in two decades, and officials said the toll could rise. An estimated 1,500 others were reported injured, the state-run news agency said.

In a rare move, the Taliban’s Supreme Leader, Haibatullah Akhundzadah, who almost never appears in public, pleaded with the international community and humanitarian organizations “to help the Afghan people affected by this great tragedy and to spare no effort.”

Even before the Taliban takeover, Afghanistan’s emergency response teams were stretched to deal with the natural disasters that frequently struck the country.

But with only a handful of airworthy planes and helicopters left since the hardline Islamists returned to power, any immediate response to the latest catastrophe is further limited.

“The Government is working within its capabilities,” tweeted Anas Haqqani, a senior Taliban official. “We hope that the International Community and aid agencies will also help our people in this dire situation.” – NDTV

 

Friday, June 24, 2022 – 01:00











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