At Least 920 Dead, True Toll Likely Higher

At least 920 people have died after Afghanistan was rocked by a strong earthquake early Wednesday, with the death toll expected to rise.

Another 600 injuries were also reported after the quake – measuring 6.1 magnitude, according to the European Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC) – near the Pakistani border, southeast of the city of Khost Afghanistan is about 27 km. The horrifying death toll was confirmed by Afghan emergency official Sharafuddin Muslim during a press conference on Wednesday.

According to EMSC, the quake was so strong that about 119 million people in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India could feel it within 310 miles. Grieving images released by local media showed destroyed buildings and bodies on the ground as a result of the disaster.

The large number of confirmed deaths were in Paktika province, where 255 Afghans were killed and more than 200 wounded. Reuters report. Another 25 people died in Khost province, where an additional 90 people needed hospital treatment.

“The death toll is likely to increase due to some villages in remote mountain areas and it will take some time to gather details,” Interior Ministry official Salahuddin Ayubi said. He added that helicopters had been deployed in a rescue operation to reach more casualties and bring them vital medical supplies.

Officials in the Taliban government have publicly appealed for support as the gruesome scale of the crisis looms. “A severe earthquake has shaken four districts of Paktika province, killing and injuring hundreds of our compatriots and destroying dozens of homes,” said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman for the Taliban government, tweeted after the disaster. “We urge all aid agencies to dispatch teams to the area immediately to prevent further disasters.”

Karimi then announced that 1 billion afghanis (over $11 million) would be distributed as “cash and other support.”

Wednesday’s earthquake is just the latest horror to ravage the Afghan people in recent months. Follow the rapid withdrawal of international forces led by the United States from this country last August, Afghanistan was engulfed in disaster.

In November, the head of the UN World Food Program said Afghanistan was dealing with “the worst humanitarian crisis on Earth” as some 22 million people face starvation after famine. fierce. The country’s health care system and broader economy, dependent on vital international aid, have also devastated by Western sanctions since the Taliban took over.

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