‘Death toll crosses 1,000 leaving hundreds injured’ DEADLY EARTHQUAKE RATTLES AFGHANISTAN


NC Monitoring Desk

GARDEZ: A powerful earthquake struck a remote border region of Afghanistan overnight killing more than 1,000 people and injuring hundreds, officials said. with the toll expected to rise as rescuers dig through collapsed dwellings. Around 6.1 magnitude quake struck hardest in rugged terrain of east, where people already live hardscrabble lives in a country in grip of a humanitarian disaster. Death toll has climbed steadily all day as news of casualties filtered in from hard-to-reach areas in mountains and country´s supreme leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, warned it would likely rise further.

“So far the information we have is that at least 920 people have been martyred and 600 injured,” Sharafuddin Muslim, deputy minister for disaster management told a press conference in Kabul.

Earlier, a tribal leader from Paktika province one of hardest-hit areas said survivors and rescuers were scrambling to help those affected. “Local markets are closed and all people have rushed to affected areas,” Yaqub Manzor told AFP by telephone. Photographs and video clips posted on social media showed scores of badly damaged mud houses in remote rural areas. “Government is working within its capabilities,” tweeted Anas Haqqani, a senior Taliban official. “We hope that International Community and aid agencies will also help our people in this dire situation.” United Nations and European Union were quick to offer help.

Meanwhile, Foreign Office in a statement said people of Pakistan stand in strong solidarity with their Afghan brethren in this difficult time. “We have no doubt that brotherly Afghan people will overcome effects of this natural calamity with their characteristic resilience.” FO stated that Pakistani authorities and institutions are working to extend required assistance to Afghanistan.

“Inter-agency assessment teams have already been deployed to a number of affected areas,” UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said.