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Afghanistan ends search for survivors of earthquake that killed 1,000; more fatalities from aftershock

Afghanistan ends search for survivors of earthquake that killed 1,000; more fatalities from aftershock

Afghan men stand on the debris of a house that was destroyed by an earthquake in Gayan, Afghanistan, Jun 23, 2022. REUTERS/Ali Khara

KABUL: Afghanistan does not have enough medical supplies to treat the injured from an earthquake that killed 1,000 people this week, a senior official said, as an aftershock on Friday (Jun 24) killed five more people.

Authorities earlier ended the search in remote southeastern mountains for survivors from the 5.9 magnitude earthquake that struck early on Wednesday, about 160km southeast of Kabul, near the Pakistani border.

The US Geological Survey said the Friday earthquake, in almost exactly the same place, was magnitude 4.3.

About 2,000 people were injured and 10,000 houses were partially or completely destroyed in Wednesday's earthquake in a remote area near the border with Pakistan, Mohammad Nassim Haqqani, a spokesperson for the disaster ministry, told Reuters.

"The search operation has finished, 1,000 are dead and the injured are around 2,000, both serious and superficial injuries," Haqqani said.

He did not elaborate on why the search for survivors was being called off after about 48 hours. Survivors have been pulled from the rubble of other earthquakes after considerably more time.

"The health ministry does not have enough drugs, we need medical aid and other necessities because it's a big disaster," he added.

Poor communications and a lack of proper roads have hampered relief efforts in a country already grappling with a humanitarian crisis that has deteriorated since the Taliban took over last August as US-led international forces withdrew.

The disaster is a major test for the hard-line Islamists, who have been largely isolated; shunned by many because of worries about human rights and cut off from much direct international assistance because of sanctions.

Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates all said on Thursday they planned to send aid. Supplies from Pakistan have already crossed the border.

India, which has a strained relationship with the Taliban, said it had sent 27 tonnes of supplies on two flights to be handed over to international aid agencies.

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.

Source: Reuters/gs


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