Mon, June 27, 2022

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Lack of access 'biggest' challenge to Afghan quake relief


Lack of access and communication could pose the biggest challenge to relief operations after a deadly earthquake struck Afghanistan's southeastern city of Khost on Wednesday . a UN official said.

"The roads are poor, even in the best of times. So, having a humanitarian operation put in place is going to be immediately challenged by the lack of easy access to the area, to the region, and I think that is going to be probably one of the big challenges," Loretta Hieber Girardet, chief of risk knowledge, monitoring and capacity development at United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) told Reuters from Geneva.

The death toll from the earthquake on Wednesday hit 1,000, disaster management officials said, with more than 600 injured.

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 said interior ministry official Salahuddin Ayubi said

Houses were reduced to rubble and bodies swathed in blankets lay on the ground, photographs on Afghan media showed.

Most of the confirmed deaths were in the eastern province of Paktika, where 255 people were killed and more than 200 injured, Ayubi added.

Wednesday's quake was the deadliest in Afghanistan since 2002. It struck about 44 km from the southeastern city of Khost, near the border with Pakistan, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said.

Lack of access 'biggest' challenge to Afghan quake relief

Meanwhile, The Afghan Red Crescent sent out food and medical aid to earthquake victims in eastern Afghanistan .

In the province of Khost, 25 were dead and 90 had been taken to hospital.

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

Mounting a rescue operation will prove a major test for the Taliban, who took over the country last August and have been cut off from much international assistance because of sanctions.

The disaster comes as Afghanistan grapples with a severe economic crisis since the Taliban took over as U.S.-led international forces withdrew following two decades of war.

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

Humanitarian aid has continued, however, with international agencies, such as the United Nations, operating.

The U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said Afghanistan had asked humanitarian agencies to help with rescue efforts, and teams were being sent to the quake-hit area.

A foreign ministry spokesman said the Taliban would welcome international help. Neighboring Pakistan said it was working to extend assistance.

 

The Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhand, in an extraordinary cabinet meeting, dedicated 100 million afghanis to urgently addressing the families situation of Tuesday’s night earthquake victims in Paktika and Khost provinces.

Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhand, the Afghan Prime Minister during a meeting asserted his condolences to the victims of the earthquake and tasked the relevant administrations to instantly address the situation of the victims of the earthquake. statement by Arg said.

Lack of access 'biggest' challenge to Afghan quake relief

The Prime Minister tasked the relevant department to deliver food, clothing, and spices to the quake-hit areas in any possible transportation ways.

Based on his decree a commission of high-rank delegations will travel to the quake-hit areas, monitor the situation of the families of the victims, and start the process of distribution of aid shortly.

Meanwhile, early today, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Deputy Prime Minister of Economic and Chairman of the Disaster Management Committee, authorized the relevant departments to directly address the situation of the families of the victims of Tuesday night’s earthquake in Paktika and Khost provinces.

Afghanistan has declared that it will utilize all available resources to reach out to assist the families and those who were wounded in this natural incident.

Published : June 23, 2022

By : Reuters