Deadly earthquake in Afghanistan: At least 1,000 dead – 2,000 destroyed

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At least 1,500 injured – Meteorological conditions make rescue operations difficult.

At least 1,000 people have been killed and another 1,500 injured in a powerful earthquake that struck the isolated, border area of ​​southeastern Afghanistan overnight on Tuesday night.

Nearly 2,000 homes were destroyed by a powerful earthquake that struck an isolated area of ​​Afghanistan and where the lack of special equipment to remove debris delays rescue operations, he said today. UN Resident Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs Ramiz Alakbarov.

THE UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed to the international community “to support the hundreds of families affected by this disaster” at a time when the country is already plagued by “the effects of years of conflict, financial hardship and famine”.

“We believe that about 2,000 houses were destroyed,” Alakbarov told a news conference at the UN headquarters in Kabul. The number of displaced, he noted, can be very large.

“On average, a family in Afghanistan consists of 7-8 people,” and in some cases many families live under the same roof, he explained.

According to Alakbarov, the Taliban regime has sent more than 50 ambulances and four or five helicopters to Paktika province to evacuate the wounded and provide assistance to the families of the dead. He noted, however, that there are no special machines to remove debris, which makes it difficult for rescue operations. “Our teams do not have the equipment to evacuate those trapped, this is the job of the de facto authorities, who also have limited resources,” he explained.

The meteorological conditions “are also not favorable”, the UN representative underlined. “It’s snowing in central Afghanistan yesterday, the temperature has dropped and it has been raining since yesterday,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said. The immediate priority is to find safe havens for the homeless. The victims also urgently need food aid and access to drinking water.

“While search and rescue efforts are under way, heavy rain and wind are hampering operations and helicopters may not have been able to land this afternoon,” he said. the assistance of the UN Children’s Fund and other services to assess the situation and meet the needs of those affected. “Unicef ​​has already sent mobile health units to provide first aid to the injured,” Agioi said in a statement.

World Health Organization teams in Afghanistan also responded immediately to help the victims. “WHO will continue to support the people in need in the country,” assured the head of the Organization, Dr. Tentros Antanom Gebregesous.

The WHO also sent 100 boxes of medicines to the cities of Guyana and Barmal while it was “on its way” and a cargo of 9.8 tons with medical equipment.

The quake was the deadliest in Afghanistan in two decades.

“Now I’m all alone, I have no one left.” In a hospital bed in Saran, Bibi Howa cries with tears. At least ten members of her family have been killed in an earthquake that shook southeastern Afghanistan overnight.

“Where will I go, what will I do? “My heart is weak,” the 55-year-old woman wonders, crying incessantly. He lived in the area of ​​Gayan, which was hit hard by the earthquake. A nurse tries to calm her down by gently stroking her forehead.

In the same room, about a dozen women are lying in bed. Most sleep under blankets, some have hand serum.

Sahmira is not injured, she takes care of her little grandson who is lying in bed, with a bandage on his head. In the next bed, her bride is sleeping. Sakhmira’s son is being treated in another ward. “We were asleep when we heard a huge noise. “I raised my voice, I thought my family was buried in the rubble and only I survived,” said the woman.

“We thought the child (her grandson) was dead. But suddenly he started crying. “We poured water on his face, he was breathing,” he added.

In the next room, about a dozen men and little boys, most of them with broken arms and legs.

A young man, Aruf Khan, says he is accompanying his injured cousin. Two members of his family were killed. “When I woke up, I was covered in dirt. Some people came and took us out. “The situation was tragic, screams everywhere, my children and all my relatives were buried in the rubble,” he said.

The director of Saran Hospital, Mohamed Yahya Uyar, was informed of the quake around 3am and immediately sent rescue teams to the affected area. It took six hours to get there.

“When the hospital received the first injured,” people were crying, we were crying too, “he said.

Those who were seriously injured were taken to hospitals in Gardez and Gazni, because only there are surgeries.

“Our country is poor and has no resources. This is a humanitarian crisis. It’s like a tsunami. “The situation is really difficult,” the doctor added.

Outside the hospital, about a hundred men are waiting in line. “They came to donate blood. “About 300 have been donated since this morning,” said a Taliban spokesman.

Source: ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ

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