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HomeForeign/DiplomacyDeadliest earthquake rocks Afghanistan, 1,000 killed, 1,500 injured

Deadliest earthquake rocks Afghanistan, 1,000 killed, 1,500 injured

 

At least 1,000 people have been killed and about 1,500 injured after a magnitude 5.9 earthquake rocked remote parts of southeastern Afghanistan.

Some 130 injured people have been transferred to hospitals, according to the United Nations.

Authorities say hundreds of homes have been destroyed in the underdeveloped region.

Tremors could be felt in neighbouring Pakistan and Iran, where there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

Villages ‘razed to the ground’

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Abdul Qahar Balkhi, spokesman for Afghanistan’s ministry of foreign affairs, says entire villages have been razed to the ground.

“Initial preliminary information suggests 990 civilians have lost their lives and more than 600 are wounded. Entire villages have been razed to the ground,” Balkhi said.

“The government, despite the sanctions that have been imposed by the international community and its assets been frozen, has done whatever it can in its capacity.

The Afghan Red Crescent has immediately dispatched emergency aid to the area along with the Turkish Red Crescent and some of the other relief agencies that are present here,” he added.

“The prime minister of Afghanistan has announced 100 million afghani, the local currency, cash assistance to the victims and their families,” he said.

The Afghan Red Crescent has immediately dispatched emergency aid to the area along with the Turkish Red Crescent and some of the other relief agencies that are present here,” he added.

“The prime minister of Afghanistan has announced 100 million afghani, the local currency, cash assistance to the victims and their families,” he said.

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:UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he was “saddened” by the deadly earthquake that hit eastern Afghanistan.

“I was saddened to hear of the tragic loss of life caused by the earthquake,” Guterres said.

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“My heart goes out to the people of Afghanistan who are already reeling from the impact of years of conflict, economic hardship and hunger. I convey my deep condolences to the families of the victims and wish speedy recovery to the injured,” he added.

“The United Nations in Afghanistan is fully mobilized. Our teams are already on the ground assessing the needs and providing initial support,” he said.

US assessing response to Afghanistan earthquake: White House

Jake Sullivan, US national security advisor, says President Joe Biden, has directed USAID and other federal government entities to assess how it can respond to help those most affected by Afghanistan’s earthquake.

“We are committed to continuing our support for the needs of the Afghan people as we stand with them during and in the aftermath of this terrible tragedy,” Sullivan said in a statement released by the White House.

Turkey in best position to send rescue teams to Afghanistan: UN

The United Nations says it does not have search and rescue capabilities in Afghanistan and Turkey is “best positioned” to provide it.

“We spoke about it with the embassy of Turkey here on the ground and they’re waiting for the formal request,” Ramiz Alakbarov, the deputy UN envoy in Afghanistan, said.

“We will be able to make such request only after the discussion with the de-facto authorities and based on what is the reality on the ground,” he said.

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“Our teams do not have specific equipment to take people from under the rubble. This has to rely mostly on the efforts of the de-facto authorities, which also has certain limitations in that respect,” he added.

The UN children’s agency says there are people still trapped underneath the rubble.

Speaking to UK broadcaster Sky, Sam Mort, UNICEF’S Chief of Communication, Advocacy and Civic Engagement, said about 1,800 homes were destroyed in one of the affected districts.

“These are very simple homes made of mud bricks that crumble really, really easily,” she said.

“We are getting some teams into some areas, but the more rural and remote areas that have been affected by landslides, we’ve had a lot of rain in the last 48 hours, we’ve got roads blocked, so it’s more difficult to get to some of those areas,” she added.

Pope Francis offers prayers for Afghanistan quake victims

Meanwhile, Pope Francis, has called on the world to help Afghanistan as the country deals with the effects of today’s devastating earthquake.

“In the last few hours, an earthquake caused victims and enormous damage in Afghanistan. I would like to express my closeness to the injured and those who have been affected by the quake. And, in particular, I pray for those who lost their lives and their families,” Francis said.

“I hope that with the help of all we can ease the suffering of the dear Afghan population,” he added.

Afghanistan has a long history of powerful tremors that have caused fatalities.

The magnitude 5.9 tremor in the early hours of Wednesday flattened hundreds of homes in the southeastern provinces of Paktika and Khost, killing at least 1,000 people and injuring some 600.

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China says ready to provide emergency support to Afghanistan

China says it is ready to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan following today’s powerful earthquake.

Speaking to reporters at a daily briefing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin expressed condolences to the victims of the earthquake and confirmed that no Chinese casualties had so far been reported.

“Afghanistan is a friendly neighbour of China, and China is willing to provide emergency humanitarian assistance according to the needs of the Afghan side,” Wang said

SOURCE: Al Jazeera

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