Thousands of people are in desperate need of food, medicine and shelter after the death of 1,000 people

KABUL, Afghanistan — Dadmir Khan lost his three daughters, son and mother on Wednesday in one of the deadliest earthquakes to hit Afghanistan in decades.

Now he worries about who in his family will not survive the aftermath of the earthquake, as medicine for the injured is in short supply.

“It was like there was a huge explosion,” Khan, 45, told NBC News.

The farmer from the remote mountainous province of Paktika, near the Pakistani border, added that he had been knocked to the ground several times by the earthquake, which the United States Geological Survey said was of a magnitude of 5.9.

He said his son Nabiullah, 7, and his three daughters – Lila, 4; Amine, 3 years old; and Nazia, 2 – and her mother, Guljama, 65, were killed.

Other members of his family were being treated at the hospital, “but they are not in good condition because there are not enough medicines in the facility”, he said.

“We are looking to transfer them elsewhere,” he added.

An Afghan child is treated at a hospital in Sharan town after being injured in an earthquake in Gayan district of Paktika province on Wednesday.Ahmad Sahel Arman / AFP – Getty Images

Officials from Afghanistan’s Taliban leaders said at least 1,000 people had died and 1,500 injured in the quake, which had its epicenter in Paktika province, although they warned the toll could rise further.

Footage of villages nestled among the rugged mountains showed residents rummaging through the rubble of collapsed houses, and it is feared that many are trapped under collapsed buildings.

Zarinullah Shah said a large percentage of his community in Barmal district of Paktika province had lost family members.

“In our area, the majority of houses were built with mud,” said Shah, 47, adding that most of the buildings where he lived had been damaged or destroyed and around 300 families had lost their homes.

As a result, he said they had no choice but to spend the night in the open.

Thousands of people were in desperate need of tents, blankets, food and medicine, he said, adding that “the Afghan government was trying to help the injured, but they don’t have enough resources, especially particular helicopters and doctors to meet the needs of the people concerned. »

An injured man is loaded into a vehicle in Gayan district of Paktika province.Bakhtar News Agency/AFP – Getty Images

“The situation is very bad,” said Dr Mohammad Anwar Haneef, senior program coordinator for Care International in Afghanistan, one of the few international aid agencies to remain in the country after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan. August as the United States and its NATO allies prepared to withdraw.

Haneef, who was coordinating aid efforts from the country’s capital, Kabul, added that ambulances could not easily reach the affected areas.

In a rare move, the reclusive supreme leader of the Taliban, Haibatullah Akhundzadawho almost never appears in public, called on “the international community and all humanitarian organizations to help the Afghan people affected by this great tragedy and to spare no effort to help those affected”.

“We ask God to save our poor from hardship and evil,” he said in a statement released by the Taliban spokesman.

But the answer is likely to be complicated as many governments are reluctant to deal directly with the militant group, which has issued a series of repressive edicts restricting the rights of women and girlsand the press, recalling the last time he was in power, before the American invasion following the September 11 attacks.

The reluctance of the international community could slow down the deployment of emergency aid and the teams usually sent after such natural disasters.

A villager sits near his damaged house in the Spera district of Khost province.PA

The earthquake also struck at a time when Afghanistan is already mired in one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with millions facing rising hunger and poverty after funding is cut. Taliban International.

“People are out of work,” Haneef said. “They don’t have income, so the private sector doesn’t work well.”

He added that it was difficult to get out of the country to buy medical supplies and this was exacerbated by the fact that the country “suffered from low income on one side and high costs on the other”.

With huge swathes of the country destroyed, he said his country needed “a short-term plan to provide food, shelter, medicine and medical support”.

“Unfortunately, this will have long-term consequences for people,” he added.

Ahmed Mengli reported from Kabul and Mushtaq Yusufzai from Peshawar, Pakistan.

Associated Press contributed.


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