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Deadly Earthquake Devastates Afghanistan



By: Samuel Lin


On the night of June 22, 2022, an earthquake shook southeastern Afghanistan. Many homes and even entire villages were destroyed. The earthquake was the deadliest to strike Afghanistan in two decades.


In the areas hit hardest by the quake, more than 1,000 people were killed and 1,600 were injured, according to Afghan officials. The United Nations humanitarian office estimated 770 deaths and 1,440 injured. More than 1,500 homes were destroyed in Geyan, a district in Paktika.


Many came to supply aid to the remote areas hit hardest. Local charities came with bread, rice, flour, and other staples, and ambulances arrived to carry and treat the injured. Trucks and helicopters brought other necessities, such as tents, medical aid, and blankets.


Despite these effort by organizations, charities, and individuals, arduous journeys slowed the delivery of aid. To get help to remote areas, steep mountainsides and downhill slopes must be passed. Many cars or trucks offloaded some of their supplies out of the fear that they would lose control on the treacherous inclines.


Before the earthquake, many of the people in Southeastern Afghanistan gathered food like pine nuts and apples from the forest to sell, or worked in the local bazaar. They did not have much money or savings. When the earthquake struck, many families lost almost loved ones and their few belongings.


Padshah Gul, age 30, survived the deadly quake. He was sleeping outside his house when the ground shook violently beneath him and the house’s walls collapsed.


“It was like a bomb exploding,” he said.


After the earthquake, Mr. Gul and his brother rushed to save more than 12 of their family members from the rubble of the destroyed home. Two relatives, his cousin and his sister-in-law, were killed.


After three of his cousins were killed and his house was destroyed, Ali Mohammed said “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, . . .I think we’ll leave to continue our life, but then we have to start again from zero.”


Abdul Hanan, age 70, also shared his experience after the earthquake. He lost 17 of his relatives, while only four survived.


“Now there is nothing — our houses are destroyed, we have nothing to eat, nothing to drink, nothing,” Mr. Hanan said, quietly wiping away tears.



Sources:

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

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