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Afghans bury dead, dig for survivors of devastating quake – The Denver Post – Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado 2022-06-23 13:41:49 –

EBRAHIM NOROOZI

Gayan, Afghanistan (AP) — Villagers rushed to fill the dead on Thursday, digging the rubble of their homes in search of survivors of a powerful earthquake in eastern Afghanistan that state media reported killed 1,000. .. Residents appeared to be themselves primarily to deal with the aftermath, as their new Taliban-led government and international aid community struggled to bring aid.

Under the bright red sky of Paktika, the epicenter of Wednesday’s earthquake, where hundreds of homes were destroyed, a man dug several long trenches on the hillside overlooking the village. They prayed for and then buried more than 100 bodies wrapped in blankets.

In the villages of the Gayan district, where AP journalists visited for hours on Thursday, they spent the previous rainy night on collapsed open-roofed lifted timber, pulling stones by hand and looking for a missing loved one. The family that was there. Taliban fighters patrolled vehicles in the area, but only a few helped dig into the rubble.

There were few signs of heavy equipment — only one bulldozer was being transported. Ambulances circulated, but other help to life was largely unclear.

Many international aid agencies withdrew from Afghanistan when the Taliban seized power nearly a decade ago. The remaining people are struggling to get medicines, food and tents in the distant earthquake-stricken areas, using the rough mountain roads that have been exacerbated by damage and rain.

“We ask the Islamic Emirate and the whole country to come forward and help us,” said a survivor named Hakimura. “We don’t have anything, we don’t even have a tent to live in.”

The scene emphasized how a magnitude 6 quake struck a country that was already almost kneeling from multiple humanitarian crises.

According to the state-owned Bakhtar News Agency, the quake claimed 1,000 lives and injured an estimated 1,500. In the first independent count, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that about 770 people were killed in Paktika and the neighboring state of Khost.

Given the difficulty of access and communication to the affected villages, it is not clear how the totals were obtained. Both severe casualties will make earthquake Afghanistan the most deadly in 20 years, and authorities continued to warn that the number could still increase.

As Tullivan took over in August amid the withdrawal of the United States and NATO, the world withdrew the funding and development assistance that had highlighted the country. The economy has collapsed and millions of people can no longer afford food. Many medical facilities have been closed, making it difficult to find a cure. Almost half of the 38 million population faces critical levels of food insecurity.

Many aid and development agencies also left after seizing the Taliban’s power. The United Nations and the rest of the agency said they are moving blankets, food, tents and medical teams to the area.

However, they are over-expanding and UN agencies are facing a $ 3 billion shortage of funds for Afghanistan this year. Peter Kessler, a spokesman for the United Nations refugee agency, means that there are difficult decisions about who will get help.

Local medical centers already struggling to deal with malnutrition cases were overwhelmed by those injured in the quake, said Adnan Junaid, vice chairman of the International Rescue Commission in Asia.

“The cost of this disaster to the community is … catastrophic, and the impact of the quake on the already expanding humanitarian response in Afghanistan is a source of serious concern,” said Junaid.

The Pentagon, which leads the Taliban’s emergency operations, said it sent 22 helicopters on Wednesday, transporting injured people, carrying supplies, and several more on Thursday.

Still, the Taliban’s resources have been burned down by the economic crisis. The Taliban is made up of rebels who have fought against the United States and NATO for 20 years, and is struggling to move to governance.

On Wednesday, UN officials mobilized an international search and rescue team and equipment from neighboring countries, despite a rare plea from the world for help from Taliban supreme leader Hibatullah Akhnzada. Said he did not require to obtain or obtain.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said on Twitter that trucks for food and other necessities arrived from Pakistan and planes full of humanitarian aid landed from Iran and Qatar.

It may be more difficult to get more direct international assistance. Many countries, including the United States, are pouring humanitarian aid into Afghanistan through the United Nations and other organizations to keep the Taliban out of the hands. Repressive orders reduce the rights of women and girls and the press.

Germany, Norway and several other countries have announced that they are sending aid to the earthquake, but emphasized that they will only operate through UN agencies, not the Taliban.

In breaking news on Thursday, Afghanistan’s state television emphasized admitting that former enemy US President Joe Biden had condolences and promised help for the quake. According to a White House statement, Biden ordered US international aid agencies and their partners to “evaluate” options to help victims on Wednesday.

Afghanistan’s UN Deputy Special Representative, Ramiz Arakbarov, will visit the quake-affected areas on Friday to “meet with direct responders, including affected families and working women’s civil society groups. It will be, “he told the UN Security Council in a video briefing. This is to ensure that support reaches women and girls and to support overall relief efforts. “

In Paktika, an earthquake struck a seriously poor area. It is home to a few fertile areas surrounded by rugged mountains. Roads are so difficult that they are only 175 km (110 miles) from Kabul, but some villages in the Gayan district can be reached in a day.

Gayan’s six-year-old boy cried, saying his parents, two sisters, and one brother were all dead. He escaped from the ruins of his house and evacuated with his neighbor.

Modern buildings can withstand magnitude 6 earthquakes elsewhere, but mudbrick houses and landslide-prone mountains in Afghanistan make such earthquakes more dangerous.

One man, Rahim Yang, stood in some of the standing mudbrick walls of his house, around him with fallen roof timber.

“It was completely destroyed and all my belongings were gone,” he said. “I lost 12 of my family in this house.”

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Associated Press writers Jon Gambrell of Dubai, Lee Keath of Cairo, Rahim Faiez and Munir Ahmed of Islamabad contributed to this report.

Afghans bury dead, dig for survivors of devastating quake – The Denver Post Source link Afghans bury dead, dig for survivors of devastating quake – The Denver Post

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