Kabul, MINA – Spokesman for the Taliban’s Military Commander Mohammad Ismail Muawiyah said rescue operations due to the devastating earthquake that hit several areas in Afghanistan were almost complete.
“The rescue operation has been completed, no one is trapped under the rubble,” Muawiyah said in Paktika province, as quoted by Al Jazeera on Friday (June 24).
The 6.1-magnitude earthquake Wednesday morning about 160 km (100 miles) southeast of Kabul killed around 1,000 people and injured 1,500 people and destroyed more than 3,000 houses.
The death toll makes it the deadliest earthquake in Afghanistan in 20 years, according to US government data.
Meanwhile, Afghan Health Ministry Spokesman Sharafat Zaman said around 1,000 people had been rescued Thursday morning.
Zaman said poor communication and a lack of proper roads hindered aid efforts from reaching the disaster site.
“Aid has reached the regions and is continuing but more is still needed,” he said.
An Al Jazeera journalist from Paktika province, Ali Latifi said the situation on the ground was “very bad”.
“When you are in this helicopter and you fly over these districts, you see that they are basically located in these mountains and on hillsides which are all unpaved, rocky areas… the whole house is made of mud. It’s a really poor area where people have the most basic standard of living,” he said.
“Even the nearest clinic from one of the districts we are in, they say it is 30 minutes away and even it is a private clinic which will cost a lot of money for people to visit and again to get there is very difficult,” he added.
Abdul Qahar Balkhi, Spokesperson for Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated the call for more international assistance to be provided.
“We call on the natural disaster management agency and the international community to provide immediate and comprehensive assistance to the Afghan people,” he wrote on Twitter.
“The drought has damaged food production and nine million Afghans are facing hunger. Some families have been forced to sell their children and organs to survive,” he added.
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the global agency was fully mobilized to assist, deploying health teams and supplies of medicine, food, trauma equipment and emergency shelter to the earthquake zone.
The World Food Program (WFP) delivered food and logistical equipment to the affected areas, with the initial aim of supporting 3,000 households.
“The Afghan people are already facing an unprecedented crisis following decades of conflict, severe drought and economic downturn,” said Gordon Craig, WFP Deputy Director in Afghanistan.
“Earthquakes will only add to the already enormous humanitarian needs they bear on a daily basis,” he added.
In addition, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates said they plan to send aid. (T/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)