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Afghan earthquake kills at least 920; toll expected to rise

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Afghan earthquake kills at least 920; toll expected to rise

Reuters | AFP
June 22, 2022

Pictures from Paktika province show extensive destruction to buildings. — Photo courtesy: Afghan Government News Agency


Pictures from Paktika province show extensive destruction to buildings. — Photo courtesy: Afghan Government News Agency


This photograph taken on June 22, 2022 and received as a courtesy of the Afghan government-run Bakhtar News Agency shows soldiers and Afghan Red Crescent Society officials near a helicopter at an earthquake hit area in Afghanistan's Gayan district, Paktika province. — AFP


This photograph taken on June 22, 2022 and received as a courtesy of the Afghan government-run Bakhtar News Agency shows soldiers and Afghan Red Crescent Society officials near a helicopter at an earthquake hit area in Afghanistan's Gayan district, Paktika province. — AFP


People carry injured to be evacuated following a massive earthquake, in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, June 22, 2022, in this screen grab taken from a video. — Reuters


People carry injured to be evacuated following a massive earthquake, in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, June 22, 2022, in this screen grab taken from a video. — Reuters

An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 killed at least 920 people in Afghanistan early on Wednesday, disaster management officials said, with more than 600 injured and the toll expected to grow as information trickles in from remote mountain villages.

Photographs on Afghan media showed houses reduced to rubble, with bodies swathed in blankets lying on the ground.

Helicopters were deployed in the rescue effort to reach the injured and fly in medical supplies and food, said an interior ministry official, Salahuddin Ayubi.

"The death toll is likely to rise as some of the villages are in remote areas in the mountains and it will take some time to collect details."

Most of the confirmed deaths were in the eastern province of Paktika, where 255 people were killed and more than 200 injured, Ayubi added. In the province of Khost, 25 were dead and 90 had been taken to hospital.

However, another official said that the death toll had reached at least 1,000.

“The number is increasing. People are digging grave after grave,” Mohammad Amin Huzaifa, head of the Information and Culture Department in Paktika, said in a message to journalists.


Haibatullah Akhundzada, the supreme leader of the ruling Taliban, offered his condolences in a statement.

This photograph taken on June 22, 2022 and received as a courtesy of the Afghan government-run *Bakhtar News Agency* shows collapsed mud houses following an earthquake in Gayan district, Paktika province. — AFP


This photograph taken on June 22, 2022 and received as a courtesy of the Afghan government-run Bakhtar News Agencyshows collapsed mud houses following an earthquake in Gayan district, Paktika province. — AFP

Wednesday's quake was the deadliest since 2002. According to US Geological Survey, the earthquake occurred at 1:54am (PST), about 44 km (27 miles) from the city of Khost, near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, at a depth of 51 km. The tremors were felt over some 500km by about 119 million people in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India.

In Pakistan, tremors were felt in Peshawar, Islamabad, Lahore, Kohat, Mohmand, Swat, Buner and other parts of Punjab and KP.


A shakemap of the earthquake of magnitude 6.1 that struck eastern Afghanistan. — Photo by USGS/Reuters


A shakemap of the earthquake of magnitude 6.1 that struck eastern Afghanistan. — Photo by USGS/Reuters

People left their homes in panic for safer places. "It was strong," said a resident of Peshawar.

A report by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Disaster Management Authority said a man, resident of Lakki Marwat was killed in the earthquake after the roof of his room collapsed.
The disaster comes as Afghanistan has been enduring a severe economic crisis since the Taliban took over August, as US-led international forces were withdrawing after two decades of war.


In response to the Taliban takeover, many governments have imposed sanctions on Afghanistan's banking sector and cut billions of dollars worth of development aid.


This photograph taken on June 22, 2022 and received as a courtesy of the Afghan government-run *Bakhtar News Agency* shows a member of the Afghan Red Crescent Society giving medical treatment to a victim following an earthquake in Afghanistan's Gayan district, Paktika province. — AFP

This photograph taken on June 22, 2022 and received as a courtesy of the Afghan government-run Bakhtar News Agencyshows a member of the Afghan Red Crescent Society giving medical treatment to a victim following an earthquake in Afghanistan's Gayan district, Paktika province. — AFP

Humanitarian aid has continued and international agencies such as the United Nations operate in the country.

An Afghan foreign ministry spokesman said they would welcome help from any international organisation.
Large parts of South Asia are seismically active because a tectonic plate known as the Indian plate is pushing north into the Eurasian plate.

In 2015, an earthquake struck the remote Afghan northeast, killing several hundred people in Afghanistan and nearby northern Pakistan.

Pakistan promises humanitarian assistance​

Immediately after the earthquake was reported, the government of Pakistan extended condolences and sympathies over the loss of lives and damage to property in the neighbouring country.

According to a Radio Pakistan report, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that Pakistan was standing with Afghan brothers and sisters in this difficult time and promised to provide all possible assistance.

In a statement, KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan announced that the province would send medical teams to Afghanistan's Paktika province.
Relief goods such as medicines, groceries and other assistance will also be dispatched, he said, directing the provincial health ministry and chief secretary to take immediate steps in this regard.
President Dr Arif Alvi expressed sympathies for the deceased and the injured people. "Pakistan stands in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan in this hour of need," he said.


Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also extended deep sorrow over the tragedy and urged the international community to play its role in providing humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people.

Separately, a statement issued by Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: "The people of Pakistan stand in strong solidarity with their Afghan brethren in this difficult time. We have no doubt that the brotherly Afghan people will overcome the effects of this natural calamity with their characteristic resilience."

It added that Pakistani authorities and institutions were coordinating with relevant Afghan institutions to extend required assistance in the affected areas.

Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Babar Iftikhar said Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Nadeem Raza and the services chiefs expressed their deepest condolences over the loss of precious lives and damage to infrastructure.

"Armed forces of Pakistan are ready to provide all possible humanitarian assistance to people of Afghanistan," he said.

Meanwhile, former prime minister and PTI chairman Imran Khan said that he had asked the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to especially facilitate provision of all medical assistance to the neighbouring country.


 

Muhammed45

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My sincere condolences to the families of the deceased.

Truly sad and shocking news. Iran will surely help people of Afghanistan beside other neighbors of this country.
 

Shakuni Mama

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I don't want to say but it seems to be a cursed land. It's been like 5 decades and they are not able to come out of all this. May Almighty bless the deceased and help this country to grow so that they can live in peace.
 

El Sidd

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Pakistan is ready to provide all means of support to the Afghan people in such dire turmoil arising from a natural disaster.

A regional committee taskforce must be immediately set up to help out the Afghan brethren.
 

Blueindian

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I dont want to say this but expect the casualties to rise .
Happens in all earth quakes .
Condolences to the deceased

I don't want to say but it seems to be a cursed land. It's been like 5 decades and they are not able to come out of all this. May Almighty bless the deceased and help this country to grow so that they can live in peace.
 

Shakuni Mama

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I dont want to say this but expect the casualties to rise .
Happens in all earth quakes .
Condolences to the deceased

Quite obvious. Afghanistan does not have Disaster recovery response team or medical assistance to take care of its people. Moreover we don't know how the situation is in remote areas of Afghanistan.

Don't know how is the situation in Gandhar which was once my kingdom. I was called Gandhar Naresh for a reason which is present day Kandhar.
 

RescueRanger

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Situation Report for 06.22.2022:

Highlights

• At 01.30 local time on 22 June, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck the Central Region of Afghanistan impacting Paktika and Khost provinces. The earthquake – which was recorded at a depth of 10 km – was reportedly felt in neighbouring provinces including Kabul, as well as in Islamabad, Pakistan.

• Affected districts identified to date include Barmal, Ziruk, Nika and Giyan in Paktika province and Spera district in Khost Province. Gayan district in Paktika province is reportedly the worst affected with up to 1090 people killed and 3000 people injured, many of them seriously. The number of people killed or injured has yet to be confirmed. In addition, up to 1,800 homes have reportedly been destroyed and damaged in Gayan, representing 70 per cent of the district’s housing stock. In Spera district, Khost province, 25 people have reportedly been killed and 20 injured.

• The number of casualties is expected to rise as search and rescue operations are ongoing. Already, the Ministry of Defense has dispatched five helicopters to Paktika province to facilitate medevacs, and one medical team to Gayan district. UNICEF has also deployed at least 12 teams of health workers to Gayan district, and several mobile health and nutrition teams to Barmal district in Paktika province and Spera district in Khost province. International Humanitarian search and rescue teams, including INSARAG and UNDAC, are on standby to deploy as needed.

• Immediate needs identified include emergency trauma care, emergency shelter and non-food items, food assistance and WASH support.

Preliminary Humanitarian Needs and Response

Humanitarian partners are preparing to assist affected families in Paktika and Khost provinces in coordination with the de-facto authorities, including the Office for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs (ANDMA). The Ministry of Defense is leading the response, including search and rescue efforts, and has sent 45 ambulances to Paktika province while the Paktika Provincial Health Department has dispatched eight ambulances and a team of doctors to Paktika. Although search and rescue efforts are ongoing, heavy rain and wind is hampering efforts with helicopters reportedly unable to land this afternoon.

At present, casualties are being transferred by the de facto authorities to Sharan, Paktika hospital and Urgun hospital, with the road between Shahidano Chawk and Sharan hospital closed to all civilian traffic to facilitate the transportation of injured. To date, at least 130 injured people have been transferred and admitted to Sharan (50), Paktika (40) and Urgun hospitals (37).

Humanitarian actors are also providing emergency assistance with WHO, OHPM and CARE deploying 14 mobile health teams to Paktika province and in Khost province OHPM and IRC deploying four mobile health teams to affected areas. IFRC and ARCS have redirected three mobile health teams in Paktika to address immediate needs and are mobilizing additional medical supplies to be deployed from Kabul. WHO has also delivered 100 cartons of emergency medicine to Giyan and Barmal. Since the early hours of the morning, IMC has responded to affected communities by deploying ambulances, medication, and medical equipment. Over the coming day, joint needs assessments involving UNICEF, WFP, IOM, DRC and DACAAR are planned for Giyan and Barmal districts in Paktika province. The Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund has identified partners already active in the area and has mobilized additional resources that can potentially be immediately deployed based on assessed needs.

Families of those whose homes have been damaged or destroyed are being hosted by their relatives and other members of their communities, although some are reportedly living in the open. Given the unseasonable, heavy rains and cold, emergency shelter is an immediate priority. ANDMA has delivered food and emergency tents to some of those families living in the open but more assistance is required.

Coordination

OCHA is coordinating the emergency response on behalf of humanitarian partners with an Operational Coordination Team (OCT) meeting held this morning and teams deployed to Paktika (IOM, DRC, DACARR, UNICEF, WHO, WFP and WSTA) and Khost (IRC, OHPM, NRC, CARE, WFP, CHA, WSTA, WFP, UNICEF) provinces. Representatives from the defacto authorities in Kabul and the Governor’s Office in the affected areas are also on site.

An ad-hoc meeting of the central region’s inter-cluster coordination team will also take place today.

-END-
 

Faqirze

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An earthquake of this magnitude hit Islamabad a few days back yet it didn't even leave a single scratch, but in Afghanistan almost a thousand have been killed if not more. How did this happen?
 

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