Afghanistan's earthquake-hit people call for help amid devastation and trickle of aid

Source: : 2022-06-25 13:38:00 :

Every house in a village of nearly two dozen homes was reduced to rubble by Wednesday’s earthquake in Afghanistan, it has emerged.

The several hundred residents of Miradin, Gayan District, have been sleeping in nearby woods and have still not received the aid that is slowly making its way into quake-hit areas on Saturday.

According to state media, at least 1,150 people were killed by the 6.1 magnitude tremor, which hit hardest in a region of high mountains where Paktika and Khost provinces meet the Pakistan border.

The inhabitants of Miradon are among 700-800 families in the area still living out in the open, the UN’s humanitarian co-ordinating organisation OCHA said.

Many of those who live in the provinces are worried about whether they will be able to rebuild before the winter comes in just a few months.

Dawlat Khan, a resident of Gayan District, which is in Paktika province, said five members of his family were injured when his house collapsed.

He said: “We are facing many problems. We need all kind of support, and we request the international community and Afghans who can help to come forward and help us.”

In another badly hit village where aid had got through, Wor Kali, in the Barmal district of Paktika province, one man said he lost his three sons.

Shir Alam, 38, was among those struggling to deal with the aftermath as another man was seen using a shovel to dig his car from the rubble and women walked among ruins with water containers on their heads.

Injured travel miles for help

An estimated 2,000 people have been injured, with many of them seeking help from hospitals miles from where they live.

One of the patients at an Italian-run hospital in Kabul, a woman from Gayan district of Paktika, said nine members of her family had died.

“Just I remain,” she said. “My legs are broken, we have nothing; we eat what the Taliban give us.” She asked for her name to be withheld over security fears.

Afghan women carry water containers through the debris of damaged houses in Wor Kali
Afghan women carry water containers through the debris of damaged houses in Wor Kali

Aid effort under way but supplies slow to get through

UNICEF delivered blankets, tarpaulins, water purification tablets and other hygiene materials to some of the quake-hit areas on Saturday.

The World Health Organisation also unloaded medical supplies for local hospitals.

Aid supplies arrived in Afghanistan from Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, officials said.

Meanwhile, China said it would provide humanitarian aid worth 50 million yuan (£6.1m).

Aid agencies say the disaster has underscored the need for the international community to rethink its policy of cutting off Afghanistan from finance because of the Taliban takeover of the country 10 months ago.

Afghan woman sits amid destruction after an earthquake in Gayan village, in Paktika province. Pic: AP
An Afghan woman sits amid destruction after an earthquake in Gayan village, in Paktika province. Pic: AP

Roads made impassable by rain and landslides

Billions in development aid and vital reserves were frozen, helping to push the economy into collapse and plunge Afghanistan deeper into crisis and near famine.

Attempts to help those hurt of trapped by the quake have been slowed both by the terrain and by conditions in the country in general.

Roads through the mountains have been made increasingly impassable by rain, following damage caused by the quake. Authorities have called off the search for survivors.

Mohammad Amen Hozifa, a spokesperson for the Paktika provincial government, said on Saturday: “We call on all humanitarian organisations to help the people.”

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