Earthquake in Afghanistan: more than a thousand victims and many injured

A 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck Afghanistan in the early hours of June 22, killing more than a thousand people, injuring more than 600, and the toll is expected to rise as more information comes in from remote mountain villages, Reuters reported.< /strong>

Earthquake in Afghanistan: more than a thousand victims and many injured

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Afghan media photos show houses in ruins, with bodies wrapped in blankets lying on the ground.

Helicopters have been deployed in rescue operations to reach the wounded and deliver medical supplies and food, interior ministry spokesman Salahuddin Ayubi said.

“The death toll is likely to rise as some villages are in remote areas in mountains, and it will take some time to gather the details”, – he said.

The June 22 earthquake was the deadliest since 2002. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGC), it occurred about 44 km from the southeastern city of Khost, near the border with Pakistan. The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometers, indicating a yellow danger level, indicating a relatively localized impact, according to CNN.

Most of the confirmed deaths have occurred in the eastern province of Paktika, where 1,000 people died, according to Ayubi and more than 1,500 were injured. In Khost province, 25 people have died, 90 have been hospitalized, and five people have died in Nangarhar province, the disaster management agency said.

Photographs from Paktika Province, south of Khost Province, show houses left in ruins, with only one or two walls and broken roof beams remaining.

Najibullah Sadid, an Afghan water management expert, said The earthquake coincided with heavy monsoonal rain in the region, leaving traditional houses, many of which are built from clay and other natural materials, particularly vulnerable to damage.

Haibatullah Akhundzadeh, supreme leader of the ruling Taliban, expressed condolences in his statement.

The organization of a rescue operation could be a serious test for the Taliban, who took over the country in August and are deprived of international assistance due to sanctions.

The shaking was felt by about 119 million people in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, according to EMSC on Twitter, but immediate there were no reports of damage or casualties in Pakistan. The EMSC estimated the magnitude of the quake at 6.1, although the USGC reported it was 5.9.

Compounding the problem for the Afghan authorities is the recent flooding in many regions, which, according to the disaster management agency, killed 11 people, injured 50 and blocked sections of the highway.

The disaster occurred at a time when when Afghanistan is in a severe economic crisis as the Taliban seized power and the US-led international forces withdrew after two decades of war.

In response to the Taliban's rise to power, many countries imposed sanctions on the Afghan banking sector and cut aid to development goals worth billions of dollars.

However, humanitarian assistance continued thanks to the work of international agencies such as the United Nations. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) reported that Afghanistan has turned to humanitarian organizations to help with rescue efforts, and teams are being sent to the area affected by the earthquake.

On June 22, the Taliban held an emergency meeting to organize the transportation of the wounded and material assistance to the victims and their families, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said.

Prime Minister Mohammad Hassan Akhund convened a meeting at the country's presidential palace to issue instructions all relevant departments to send emergency teams to the affected area, Mujahid said in a tweet.

An Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman said he would welcome international assistance. Neighboring Pakistan said it was working on expanding aid.

In a tweet on Wednesday, the World Health Organization said its teams are on site to respond to emergencies, including providing medicines, trauma services and conducting needs assessments.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed his condolences and offered support in a tweet on June 22. “Deeply saddened to learn of the earthquake in Afghanistan that killed innocent people,” he wrote. – People in Pakistan share the grief and sorrow of their Afghan brothers. Relevant authorities are working to support Afghanistan at this difficult time.”

India expressed “sympathy and condolences to the victims and their families,” according to a tweet from an Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman on June 22.

Pope Francis said he was praying “for those who have lost their lives and for their families” during his weekly audience on June 22. “I hope that help can be sent there to help all the suffering of the dear people of Afghanistan,” – he said.

Much of South Asia is seismically active because a tectonic plate known as the Indian Plate is pushing north into the Eurasian Plate. In 2015, an earthquake hit the remote northeast of Afghanistan, killing several hundred people in Afghanistan and nearby northern Pakistan.

An earthquake hit western Afghanistan in January, killing more than 20 people.< /p>

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