The Afghan authorities report more than 1,000 fatalities and at least 1,500 injuries after the severe earthquake. The number could increase further as the region is remote and difficult to access for aid workers.

According to official figures, at least 1,000 people died in a devastating earthquake in the Afghan-Pakistani border region. At least 1,500 residents in eastern Afghanistan were injured after the quake late Tuesday evening, the state news agency Bakhtar reported.A whole village destroyedAn eyewitness told the dpa news agency about the destruction in the affected areas:

“There is great chaos everywhere. I counted a hundred bodies in an hour,” said journalist Rahim Chan Chushal. “The horror is great. The parents cannot find their children and the children cannot find their parents. Everyone wonders who is dead and who is alive. The houses are made of clay and that is why they were all destroyed by the strong earthquake.”

According to the government, dozens of houses in Paktika and Khost provinces were destroyed. Many animals also died. Afghan media reported that one village had been completely destroyed. The type of construction in the poor and economically weak region is usually not earthquake-proof, and many families live close together. In addition, the earthquake is likely to have surprised the residents at night.

Meanwhile, civil protection fears an even higher number of victims. The rescue work was made more difficult by the access to the remote mountain region. Several helicopters were sent to the accident region to help the local people. Red Crescent aid workers have also arrived in the region, and the Taliban government in Kabul called an emergency meeting at the presidential palace.

However, after the Islamist Taliban took power in the summer of 2021 and the chaotic withdrawal of US troops, the international community largely withdrew from Afghanistan. This should make aid operations in the earthquake area significantly more difficult. The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan had recently deteriorated extremely. There is a shortage of food and medicine.

To avoid aid money ending up in the hands of the Taliban, the remaining aid is channeled through the United Nations and aid organizations – this system could be too slow for a much-needed emergency response to the quake.