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Afghanistan in Need of Help Following Devastating Earthquake



By: Sophia Yingxuan Wang


On June 22nd, an earthquake with magnitude 5.9 struck Afghanistan, causing mass destruction and the death of at least 1,000 people. As focus moved to offering relief to the most damaged region, a rural area in the southeast, locals were evaluating the damage and grieving their losses.


The Biden administration has thus far refused requests to provide the Afghan government with direct funding, insisting that the Taliban government must fulfill past commitments to permit women to freely attend school and work, and to deny refuge to terrorist organizations. American authorities worry that the Taliban would smuggle or divert aid for unauthorized purposes.


The Biden administration has also refused to recognize the Taliban since they overran the nation in August of last year and has restricted them access to $7 billion in American foreign exchange reserves


The Taliban has not directly requested help from the Biden administration, according to the State Department's spokesperson, Ned Price, on Wednesday. However, he said that he anticipated that in the "coming days," U.S. officials and Taliban leaders "would discuss humanitarian relief."


Additionally, President Biden reportedly gave the federal government the order to "evaluate U.S. reaction options," according to national security advisor Jake Sullivan in a statement on Wednesday.


This Tuesday, the U.S. committed an extra $55 million in humanitarian aid for supplies for homes, clothing, and sanitation. According to the State Department, the United States has contributed more than $700 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan over the course of the past year.


There are still significant doubts regarding the Taliban government's ability to organize the massive and ongoing humanitarian effort required to assist the impoverished region hit by the earthquake, where many people have been rendered homeless. After a lengthy period of war, the Taliban government came to power last year, but sanctions cut it off from Western donors.


The United Nations humanitarian office estimated that 770 people were killed and 1,440 were injured, while Afghanistan officials made a higher estimate that more than 1,000 people were killed. This number has recently risen to 1,150 people.



Sources:

How to help victims of the earthquake in Afghanistan | PBS NewsHour

Need for Aid Is Critical in Afghanistan After Devastating Earthquake - The New York Times (nytimes.com)

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