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Afghanistan Earthquake Leaves a Thousand Dead


An elder reacts to the devastation outside his home in the Khost province of Afghanistan, after a 5.9 magnitude earthquake. | Image by Sardar Shafaq/Getty Images

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Villagers in eastern Afghanistan dug through the rubble of their homes in search of surviving family members after a powerful earthquake reportedly killed 1,000 people on Wednesday.

Afghans also desperately tried to bury their dead as the Taliban-led government struggled to help the victims. The Muslim custom is to bury the deceased “as soon as possible,” which is typically done within 24 hours.

Early Wednesday, the 6.1-magnitude quake struck a rugged, mountainous area of eastern Afghanistan, flattening thousands of stone and mud-brick homes.

The disaster is a new challenge for the country’s Taliban rulers and relief agencies already under pressure to deal with the country’s humanitarian troubles.

The earthquake was Afghanistan’s worst in two decades.

As the death toll continues to rise, an estimated 1,500 others were injured, the state-run news agency said.

The disaster added more chaos since the Taliban retook power from U.S. and NATO troops almost 10 months ago. The transition ended critical international financing for the country, as much of the world has rejected the Taliban regime.

The UN’s deputy special representative to Afghanistan, Ramiz Alakbarov, said that in the area at least 2,000 homes were destroyed, where on average every home has seven or eight residents.

The country’s supreme leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, who rarely makes public appearances, implored the global community and humanitarian groups “to help the Afghan people affected by this great tragedy and to spare no effort.”

A 36-year-old man from Sharan district in Paktika, Faiz Muhammad Sameem, volunteered at the city’s hospital as the injured were brought in by “ambulances, helicopters, and motorcycles.”

“Everyone is involved in relief, but the hospital does not have enough facilities,” he said. “It was a horrific scene. There were people who lost all of their family members. Some have lost 10 family members, or some people have lost entire families. I have seen a five-year-old child who was the only survivor in his 13-member family. I don’t know how he will survive or if he knows what he has lost.”

According to Pakistan’s Meteorological Department, the earthquake was centered in Paktika province, about 31 miles southwest of a city named Khost.

The European seismological agency reported that the earthquake was felt over 310 miles by 119 million people across Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.   

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6 days ago

Maybe God’s not happy having the Taliban in control of the country.

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