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Afghanistan earthquake witnesses share their stories about the terrifying day

By: Austin Fang

On June 22, 2022, at around 1:30 AM local time, a level 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck the southeast region of Afghanistan.

The earthquake that struck Afghanistan was one of the most treacherous earthquakes in the last two decades. It was estimated that there are at least 1000 dead and 1500 injured individuals throughout the country. In Genyan, a district in Paktika, close to 1500 houses had been dilapidated.

After the quake, New York Times reporters Christina Goldbaum, Safiullah Padshah, and Kiana Hayeri reached out to the Genyan district to interview the earthquake survivors.

Padshah Gul, a laborer in Afghanistan, stood where his house had been before. Instead of the two large rooms, there was now just a makeshift tent with blankets and cushions.

Just a couple of hours before, he and his brother were sleeping. Suddenly, they heard a loud CRASH as boulders cruised over their house. In a few minutes, he listened to the houses around collapse and got buried in the rubble.

When the earthquake stopped, he and his brother checked the remains. Gul saw his cousin and sister-in-law had both been killed. Among the rubble, he heard yelps and screams of people. Buried in the rock were many people, including his 12-year-old niece. He and his brother dug for 8 hours before they rescued their family.

We didn’t expect they would survive,” he said.

A similar thing happened to 60-year-old Gulpar Khan. When he stepped out of his house that cataclysmic day, he was devastated. Each house in his village was gone - torn, destroyed, and collapsed.

“It was like a scene from a movie — I could never imagine such a thing in the village,” he said. Mr. Khan lost 11 relatives and 70 people from his village were brought for treatment. “I am too sad for us all. We either have to wait for aid to rebuild our house, or we’ll be displaced and have to leave everything that’s destroyed here,”

Articles: https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/06/23/world/afghanistan-earthquake,


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