Afghanistan earthquake: Taliban appeal for international aid as death toll set to mount

Afghanistan quake

Afghan boys site near their damaged house that was destroyed in an earthquake in the Spera district of the southwestern part of Khost Province, Afghanistan, Wednesday, June 22, 2022.

Photo : AP

Kabul, Afghanistan: Taliban-led government in Afghanistan has appealed for more international aid as it struggles to cope with the devastating earthquake in a mountainous eastern region that has left more than 1,000 people dead and many more injured in the country’s deadliest quake in two decades.

The earthquake struck eastern Afghanistan early Wednesday, and the death toll surpassed 1,000 on Thursday with more than 1,500 people injured. The most affected areas are in Spera District in Khost Province, and Barmala, Ziruk, Naka and Gayan districts in Paktika Province.

With the war-ravaged nation already stricken by an economic crisis, the hardline Islamist leadership said sanctions imposed by western countries after the withdrawal of US-led coalition forces last year meant it was handicapped in its ability to deal with the disaster in Khost and Paktika provinces.

UN agencies rush to aid Afghanistan

Meanwhile, the United Nations and its partners have rushed to support Afghanistan. The UN was already mounting one of the largest humanitarian operations in the world in Afghanistan, where nearly 20 million people, roughly half the population, are going hungry.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is deeply saddened to see the tragic aftermath of this morning’s deadly earthquake in Afghanistan.

UNHCR and other UN agencies have deployed staff to the most affected areas in Pakitika and Khost provinces from its field office in Gardez. Currently, the focus is on search and rescue operations to find survivors. There are fears that more lives could be lost if survivors are not reached urgently in remote parts of the country.