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Afghanistan Quake Kills 1,000, Digging Grave After Grave, Says Official

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Afghanistan is steadily hit by earthquakes — particularly within the Hindu Kush mountain vary

Kabul:

A strong earthquake struck a distant border area of Afghanistan in a single day killing at the least 1,000 folks and injuring tons of extra, officers mentioned Wednesday, with the rely anticipated to rise as determined rescuers dig by collapsed dwellings.

The 5.9 magnitude quake struck hardest within the rugged east, the place folks already lead hardscrabble lives in a rustic beneath a humanitarian catastrophe made worse by the Taliban takeover in August.

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

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

The demise rely climbed steadily all day as information of casualties filtered in from hard-to-reach areas within the mountains, and the nation’s supreme chief, Hibatullah Akhundzada, warned it will probably rise additional.

Earlier, a tribal chief from Paktika mentioned survivors and rescuers have been scrambling to assist these affected.

“The local markets are closed and all the people have rushed to the affected areas,” Yaqub Manzor instructed AFP by phone.

Photographs and video clips posted on social media confirmed scores of badly broken mud homes in distant rural areas.

Some footage confirmed native residents loading victims right into a army helicopter.

Offers of assist

Even earlier than the Taliban takeover, Afghanistan’s emergency response groups have been stretched to take care of the pure disasters that steadily struck the nation.

But with solely a handful of airworthy planes and helicopters left for the reason that hardline Islamists returned to energy, any quick response to the most recent disaster is additional restricted.

“The government is working within its capabilities,” tweeted Anas Haqqani, a senior Taliban official.

“We hope that the International Community & aid agencies will also help our people in this dire situation.”

The United Nations and European Union have been fast to supply help.

“Inter-agency assessment teams have already been deployed to a number of affected areas,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in Afghanistan tweeted.

Tomas Niklasson, EU particular envoy for Afghanistan, tweeted: “The EU is monitoring the situation and stands ready to coordinate and provide EU emergency assistance to people and communities affected.”

Afghanistan is steadily hit by earthquakes — particularly within the Hindu Kush mountain vary, which lies close to the junction of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.

Scores of individuals have been killed and injured in January when two quakes struck rural areas within the western province of Badghis, damaging tons of of buildings.

In 2015, greater than 380 folks have been killed in Pakistan and Afghanistan when a 7.5-magnitude earthquake ripped throughout the 2 international locations, with the majority of the deaths in Pakistan.

From the Vatican City, Pope Francis supplied prayers for the victims of the most recent quake.

“I express my closeness with the injured and those who were affected,” the 85-year-old pontiff mentioned on the finish of his weekly viewers.

Aid companies and the United Nations say Afghanistan wants billions of {dollars} this yr to sort out its ongoing humanitarian disaster.

Aid companies have significantly pressured the necessity for better catastrophe preparedness in Afghanistan, which stays extraordinarily inclined to recurring earthquakes, floods and landslides.

The quake was felt as far-off as Lahore in Pakistan, 480 kilometres (300 miles) from the epicentre, in response to responses posted on the USGS and European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) web sites.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)

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