Tuesday, July 5, 2022

More Than 1,000 Killed, 1,600 Others Injured In Afghanistan Earthquake

An earthquake that struck a remote and mountainous part of Afghanistan early Wednesday killed more than 1,000 people — a death toll that was expected to rise in a region where some residents live in homes of clay and straw.

The 5.9-magnitude quake struck about 28 miles southwest of the city of Khost, a provincial capital in the country’s southeast, the United States Geological Survey said. But the worst damage was in the neighboring Paktika province, which lies along the border with Pakistan.

Raees Hozaifa, the director of information and culture in Paktika, said that 1,000 people had been killed there and another 1,500 injured. In Khost Province, Shabir Ahmad Osmani, the director of information and culture, said that 40 people had died and more than 100 were injured.

The toll made the quake the country’s deadliest in more than two decades, a period that included years of American military efforts against the Taliban before the fall of Afghanistan’s Western-backed government last summer.

“Nearly all government and private hospitals are full of victims,” said Awal Khan Zadran, a doctor in Paktika’s Urgun district. Some of the injured were taken to Kabul, the Afghan capital, by helicopters and others were transported to neighboring provinces, he said.

Search-and-rescue efforts, led by the Afghan Ministry of Defense, were being hampered by wind and heavy rain that was preventing helicopters from landing safely, the United Nations’ emergency response agency said. Casualties were likely to rise, the agency added.

Telecommunications are poor or nonexistent in remote parts of the affected region, making it hard to get a full accounting of the damage. The rugged border country in Paktika was the scene of heavy fighting before and after the Taliban takeover.

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