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Despite passing of 5 days, Afghans still struggling to recover loved ones from rubble

Despite passing of 5 days, Afghans still struggling to recover loved ones from rubble

Affected region home to mostly poor people who need food, medicine, shelter on emergency basis, locals tell Anadolu

By Islamuddin Sajid 

 

ISLAMABAD (AA) - 

Another earthquake that struck western Afghanistan on Wednesday morning put further pressure on local authorities, non-governmental organizations, and volunteers to complete the ongoing search and rescue operation.

According to Afghan Taliban officials, the latest earthquake caused heavy damage to properties in Zindajan, Injil, Golran, Kehsan, and Keshk Rabat Sangi districts.

"People were living in tents in open areas, and luckily no major human loss was caused by the Wednesday earthquake," Afghanistan’s interim Disaster Management Authority spokesman Mullah Janan Saiq said in a statement.

According to Saiq, over a dozen villages were completely destroyed in Saturday's massive earthquake, and the search for people trapped under rubble is still ongoing.

A 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck Afghanistan’s western province of Herat early Wednesday, according to the US Geological Survey.

The earthquake, which occurred at 5.41 a.m. local time (0111GMT), came days after a similar intensity earthquake hit the region on Saturday.

So far, one person has been killed and 153 others have been injured.

However, Saiq said the latest earthquake caused heavy property damage.

Search and rescue operations in affected areas are still ongoing, with authorities and local volunteers using shovels to remove debris.

 

- People bury their loved ones

 

During the last four days, hundreds of people have been buried by relatives and locals with groans and sobs, while hundreds of others are still in hospitals.

"Yes, people buried the bodies of their loved ones," Mustafa Sediqi, a volunteer with an aid organization, told Anadolu over the phone.

According to Sediqi, the region suffered significant financial losses, and aid organizations such as UNICEF and businessmen are providing tents and food to earthquake victims. However, given the large number of people affected, these are insufficient.

"In the future, these people need food and still a place to live because winter is coming and all these people live in the mountains and usually the mountainous areas are colder," he explained.





- People’s urgent needs

 

According to Saiq, several countries, including Türkiye, China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and others, sent them food, medicines, tents and other necessities.

However, locals say they need more assistance because several villages have completely collapsed and there is not a single house where any family could live.

"I went to affected areas and there was only one mosque that remained standing while hundreds of houses were completely destroyed," Mujeeb Azizi, a local resident of Herat city, told Anadolu over the phone.

Azizi said people urgently require food, medicine, shelter, and a substantial sum to rebuild their homes because the majority of the people in these areas are extremely poor.

According to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, some 85% of Afghans live below the poverty line and the provision of humanitarian assistance is under stress.

"More than halfway through the year, the 2023 Afghanistan Humanitarian Response Plan remains severely underfunded with only $744 million received as of 31 July, which is less than half of the amount ($1.49 billion) received as at the same time in 2022," Richard Bennett said in his latest report.

On Tuesday, Afghanistan's interim Disaster Management Ministry said the number of dead and injured from Saturday’s earthquake has surpassed 4,500. However, Mawlavizada, a volunteer working in affected areas, claimed that the death and injury toll has risen to 6,000.

According to the UN, at least 12,110 people (1,730 families) have been affected by last Saturday’s powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck Herat province and they are providing medical services, emergency shelter, food, water, and protection.

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