Devastating Earthquake in Afghanistan. Help needed from UN

BBC Photo

“Every street you go, you hear people mourning the deaths of their beloved ones,” a journalist in Paktika province told the BBC.

On Wednesday, June 22, 2022 the earthquake struck Paktika and Khost provinces at 1:30 AM while people were asleep. Many people have been killed and several others injured in, at least in Gyan and Barmal districts of Paktika 1,000 People have been killed and more than 1500 others have been injured, Maulvi Sharafuddin Muslim, Deputy Minister of State for Disaster Management of Taliban said.  The Gyan district police chief told the media that the death toll could rise further as the quake destroyed many homes and they were busy removing people from the rubble. 

Complete villages are destroyed, a 5 years old girl lost her all 5 members of the family, a kid who is only 8 years lost her all family, a man who is 55 years old lost his family’s 17 member.

Rescue workers said the casualties from the quake, which struck during the early hours of Wednesday, were likely to increase further.   

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said the magnitude 6.1 quake struck about 44 kilometers from the provincial capital of Khost. 

Speaking to the BBC, a doctor in Paktika said medical workers were among the victims.

“We didn’t have enough people and facilities before the earthquake, and now the earthquake has ruined the little we had,” they said. “I don’t know how many of our colleagues are still alive.”

Communication following the quake is difficult because of damage to mobile phone towers and the death toll could rise further still, another local journalist in the area told the BBC.

“Many people are not aware of the well-being of their relatives because their phones are not working,” he said. “My brother and his family died, and I just learned it after many hours. Many villages have been destroyed.”

Karim Nyazai was in the provincial capital and returned immediately to find his village devastated and 22 members of his extended family dead.

“I was away from my family who live in a remote village in the Gyan district. I went there as soon as I could find a car in the early morning,” he told the Guardian.

“The entire village is buried. Those who could manage to get out before everything fell down were managing to take out the bodies of their loved ones out of the rubble. There were bodies wrapped in blankets everywhere.

“I lost 22 members of my [extended family] including my sister, and three of my brothers. More than 70 people in the village died.”

Global and domestic reactions:

The United States has expressed sorrow over the recent quake and casualties in the country.  The State Department said it had received “grave reports” of reports of earthquakes and casualties in Afghanistan.

A statement issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that China extends its condolences to the Afghan people over the recent earthquakes in Paktika and Khost provinces.

 The Chinese Foreign Ministry said it was “deeply saddened” by last night’s quake and its aftermath.

French President Emmanuel Macron

“Our thoughts are with the hundreds of victims of the earthquake which has hit Afghanistan and Pakistan with indescribable force, the thousands of injured, the families who have lost everything and everyone facing this terrible ordeal.”

Pope Francis, the leader of the world’s Catholic Christians, has expressed his condolences to the victims of the earthquake in Khost and Paktika.  He said that international aid agencies should work together to help Afghans alleviate their hardships and problems.  He hoped that humanitarian assistance to Afghans would increase.

In a tweet, US Secretary of State Anthony Blanken called the Afghan earthquake a “great tragedy” and said it had exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in the country.

Iran has shown readiness to help the victims of the recent earthquake.  Saeed Khatibzada, a spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, said in a recent statement. He says Iran is deeply saddened by the incident and shares its grief with Afghans.

Manzoor Ahmad Pashtun, PTM leader;

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of life and property caused by the earthquake in Paktika and Khost provinces.

 We share the grief of the bereaved families and the people of this region.”

 At present, we call on the Pashtun Afghan people and the international community to urgently provide financial and medical assistance to these areas.

Former President Ashraf Ghani, in a message issued on last night’s earthquake, He called on the international aid agencies, national businesses and charities to reach out to the needy and fulfill their national, cultural, religious and social duty at this critical time.

Turkey has also expressed its condolences over the recent death toll from the quake.  The Turkish embassy in Kabul said it shared its condolences with the families of the victims.

Former President Hamid Karzai has called for help for the quake victims.  A statement from the office of former President Hamid Karzai said that last night’s earthquake had caused financial and personal losses to many people in the country and was deeply saddening.

 He called on charities, national businesses, humanitarian organizations and other agencies to help the affected families and help them in this difficult situation.

Abdullah Abdullah“It is with great sadness that some of our compatriots have been martyred and some others injured due to the severe earthquake in Gyan district and surrounding areas of Paktika”.  According to reports, some people are still trapped under the rubble due to the collapse of houses.

I urge the authorities, domestic and foreign social and charitable organizations to do everything possible to help and cooperate with the injured and the victims of the accident.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif extended his condolences and an offer of support in a tweet on Wednesday.

“Deeply grieved to learn about the earthquake in Afghanistan, resulting in the loss of innocent lives,” he wrote. “People in Pakistan share the grief and sorrow of their Afghan brethren. Relevant authorities are working to support Afghanistan in this time of need.”

India expressed “sympathy and condolences to the victims and their families,” according to a tweet by the spokesperson of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday.

Taliban appeal for international aid

The government sadly is under sanctions so it is financially unable to assist the people to the extent that is needed,” said Abdul Qahar Balkhi, a senior Taliban official.

“International relief agencies are helping, neighboring countries, regional countries, and world countries have offered their assistance which we appreciate and welcome.

“The assistance needs to be scaled up to a very large extent because this is a devastating earthquake which hasn’t been experienced in decades.”

Taliban authorities said people were still under the rubble and. They also urged all aid organizations working in Afghanistan to help in the rescue operations.

Acting Foreign Minister of Taliban Amir Khan Mottaki. called on international community and Afghan businessmen to help and reach out to the families affected by the recent earthquake.  He called on Afghan businessmen pledge to reach out to their countrymen as much as they can and are ready for humanitarian aid.

“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.”

Assistance is done as four helicopters and few ambulances had arrived in the quake-hit area of ​​Paktika. “A couple of helicopters came to help but it is not clear what else they can do other than moving the dead bodies.” Four families are in one tent, there are some other aids which is by the international community and people but it’s not enough and it can take a place.

Humanitarian aid is needed urgent

People are in immediate need of shelter, food, and water. We ask you to donate and do your best as it becomes our moral duty to help others when life gets difficult. Our people are hopeless and devastated. It’s that time they need our help; every dollar you donate can make a huge impact. Our donation may not cure the pain of this tragedy but will certainly aid those who are immediately in need of basics such as food, water, shelter, clothing, medicine and other essential items

Although many international aid agencies have stopped operating in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime, some of those who do exist have spoken of obstacles to aid delivery.

The incident is new and so far, the Taliban government or other international organizations have not surveyed how much aid will be needed for the quake victims in Khost and Paktika, but aid agencies based in Afghanistan say millions of dollars may be needed to deal with the damage. 

Now the main obstacle to the delivery of aid is the lack of a sound banking system, which many institutions are facing. With the emergence of the Taliban regime, it has become difficult to transfer money to Afghanistan, only the United Nations can.

Noorwali Khpalwak

Un pensiero su “Devastating Earthquake in Afghanistan. Help needed from UN

  1. Dear Khpalwak Sir.

    We stand with the people of Afghanistan and will continue to lead the international community in responding to their humanitarian needs. humanitarian partners are already responding, including by sending medical teams to help people affected, and we are judging other response options so 😏🤔😢 The people of Afghanistan have undergone remarkable hardship.

    "Mi piace"

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