There are more than 1,000 victims of an earthquake in eastern Afghanistan, the largest natural disaster since the Taliban came to power. There are also more than 1,500 injured by the 5.9-degree earthquake and work continues to search for survivors.
“920 people were killed and 610 injured” by the earthquake that affected two provinces in eastern Afghanistan, on the border with Pakistan, said the Deputy Minister for Disaster Management and Response, Mawlavi Sharfuddin Muslim, earlier in the day.
After the earthquake, there was a 4.5-degree aftershock. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the earthquake occurred about 46 kilometers from Khost, one of the most affected cities.
The Afghan Ministry of Disaster Management and Response, Mohammad Nasim Haqqani, stated that the province most affected was Paktika, followed by Khost and Nangarhar.
The Taliban Government assured that it uses its resources in rescue operations, and that it has appealed to humanitarian organizations in the country for help. The number of deaths may increase, they say.
“Last night’s earthquake has caused personal and financial losses to the people of Paktika and Khost. May Allah the Almighty grant paradise to the martyrs, prompt recovery to the wounded and patience to the grieving families. The Government is working within its means. We hope that the international community and relief agencies will also help our people in this desperate situation,” Taliban leader Anas Haqqani tweeted.
The International Red Cross and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced the immediate dispatch of assistance to the affected areas.