An earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale that occurred in Afghanistan left at least 1.030 dead and more than 1,500 injured, as reported this Wednesday (22) the Department of Information and Culture of the province of Paktika.
The body told the state news agency Bakhtar that all the fatalities and injuries mentioned were refer only to the districts of Gayan and Barmal.
Earlier, the US Geological Survey reported that the earthquake had its epicenter in the city of Khost, capital of the homonymous province.
Neighboring Paktika was the most affected by the earthquake, in terms of the number of deaths and injuries.
In addition, Mohammad Nasim Haqqani, spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Disaster Management and Response, informed Efe that 25 people died in Khost province, and another five in Nangarhar.
Several humanitarian organizations are already working on the ground in the rescue, in coordination with the authorities of the Taliban, according to the UN High Commissioner for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in a statement.
Five Afghan Ministry of Defense helicopters, more than 50 ambulances and several teams of health professionals were sent to the provinces of Paktika and Khost.
The work, however, is being hampered by heavy rains and intense wind, which, for example, prevented several aircraft to reach the most affected region.
Unicef representative in Afghanistan, Mohamed Ayoya, warned about the vulnerability that the earthquake creates for thousands of children.
UN requests international assistance
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that the organization is “fully mobilized” to guarantee support to the Afghan population.
In a statement, the Portuguese diplomat lamented the tragedy that befell the Afghan people, “who are already suffering the impact of years of conflict, economic difficulties and poverty and hunger.”
“Our teams are already on the ground, assessing needs and providing emergency assistance,” said Guterres.
The UN Secretary-General called on the international community to help the thousands of families affected by the earthquake, as “now is the time for solidarity”.
The United Nations has not yet recognized the Afghan government of the Taliban, despite numerous requests made by the regime.
The organization, however, guarantees that different agents dedicated to humanitarian assistance continue to work in Afghanistan, especially in a year in which a long drought has worsened the crisis for the population.