Disasters & Accidents

Earthquake survivors in Afghanistan face new challenges

Gayan, Afghanistan, Jun 24 (EFE).- The thousands of people affected by the devastating earthquake earlier this week in Afghanistan now face new threats and challenges in the aftermath of the tragedy, such as disease and scarcity of resources, among others.

A 5.9-degree earthquake on Tuesday night struck several provinces in the eastern part of the country leaving more than 1,000 dead and over 1,500 injured.

Buildings, houses, hospitals and schools were seriously affected or completely destroyed by the earthquake, which also caused the disruption of communications, water service, roads, and bridges.

A preliminary assessment of the damage indicates that in the worst affected province of Paktika, nearly 300 homes in Bermal district and 1,500 in Gayan district were destroyed or seriously damaged, whereas in Spera district in Khost province 800 houses were affected, the UN World Food Program (WFP) said Friday.

Emergency shelter, food and non-food items, medical supplies, clean water and hygiene related support are some of the urgent needs required by earthquake survivors.

The risks of cholera outbreaks in the affected areas are of particular concern to humanitarian agencies.

Afghanistan was already an extremely fragile country, ravaged by decades of armed conflict, recurring periods of drought, and a significant number of internally displaced persons, apart from the economic meltdown due to international sanctions following the Taliban’s coming to power last year.

So far, some 1,030 people were killed and 1,500 others injured in the earthquake on Tuesday, which affected especially the eastern Afghan provinces of Paktika and Khost, the epicenter of the earthquake, bordering Pakistan.

The country frequently experiences earthquakes, particularly in the Hindu Kush region, which sees strong seismic activity. EFE


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