A tremor jolted people along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan early Wednesday morning. Hundreds of residents are killed. The mountainous terrain makes rescue work difficult. A government spokesman has now called on aid organizations for support.
Rescue work continues after the devastating earthquake in the Afghan-Pakistani border region. According to the state news agency, at least 1,000 people were killed and 1,500 injured Bakhtar reported on Wednesday. In the meantime, helpers dug mass graves for the dead in the areas affected. The massive tremor had startled numerous residents early Wednesday morning.
Several aid organizations have now pledged their support to the country. “The number of casualties is expected to increase as search and rescue operations continue,” the UN Emergency Relief Office (OCHA) said. UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed his condolences to the victims.
Welthungerhilfe Country Director in Kabul, Thomas ten Boer, said:
“The earthquake in Afghanistan has shaken a country where around 20 million people no longer know how to feed themselves.”
And he added:
“The local authorities have already signaled that outside help would be welcome. This shows that the disaster, the extent of which is not yet known, can hardly be dealt with on their own.”
The Taliban leadership expressed its sympathy and condolences to the victims. According to the OCHA, up to 1,800 houses were destroyed in the affected provinces. Afghan media reported that one village had even been completely destroyed. The construction in the poor and economically weak region is not earthquake-proof for cost reasons, many families live close together.
The rescue work was made more difficult by the access to the remote mountain region. The Taliban, who have ruled Afghanistan again since August 2021, called an emergency cabinet meeting. Several helicopters have already been sent to the disaster area to help local people. A government spokesman called on aid organizations for support, and some disaster relief workers arrived on site on Wednesday.
The US earthquake monitor (USGS) reported a magnitude of 5.9 for the quake and a slightly weaker aftershock. Accordingly, the center of the earthquake was around 50 kilometers southwest of the city of Khost near the border with Pakistan, at a depth of around ten kilometers. Pakistani authorities registered the earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1.
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