“There is no one under the wreckage” declaration… Relief organizations also focus on evacuation facilities support
Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban has claimed that rescue operations related to the earthquake that occurred on the 22nd (local time) are almost complete.
“The rescue operation is over,” Mohammad Ismail Muawiyah, spokesman for the Taliban’s supreme military commander, told Reuters on the afternoon of the 23rd, “no one is trapped under the rubble” in the earthquake-affected area of Paktika province.
Mohammad Nassim Haqqani, spokesperson for the Taliban government’s disaster management department, said that “rescue work in the major affected areas has been completed” and “work is underway in remote areas.”
As of the morning of the 23rd, it is known that about 1,000 people have saved their lives through rescue operations.
However, it is surprising that the rescue work was completed the very day after the earthquake occurred, in a situation where more than 1,000 to 1,100 people were killed and about 3,000 houses were destroyed.
In particular, it is analyzed that the declaration of completion of the rescue operation by the Taliban is too early, considering that the traffic conditions in the affected area are very poor, making it difficult for rescue teams to access and searching for survivors by searching for survivors with bare hands due to lack of equipment.
Officials who participated in the Nepal earthquake relief operation in 2015 told Reuters that it was surprising that the rescue operation could be completed so quickly, “if most of the destroyed homes are small in scale.”
The Taliban’s decision is interpreted as an expression of its will to focus on treating survivors rather than searching for wreckage, as it lacks disaster response capabilities.
With an estimated 1,600 local injured, the Taliban government’s disaster management ministry explained to local Tolonews that “more than 1,000 of those injured are in critical condition.”
In this regard, Isabelle Musar Carlson, director of the Afghan division of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), told The New York Times: “Local authorities have told international organizations that search and rescue operations are 90% complete, and aid organizations are also focusing on providing shelters and caring for survivors. there,” he said.
The 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck Paktika, a province near the Pakistan border in southeastern Afghanistan, as well as its host provinces.
In the middle of the night, when an unexpected strong earthquake struck, the sleeping residents suffered damage without defense.
In particular, since most of the local houses were poorly built mud houses, they collapsed like sand castles in the impact of the earthquake, and residents were crushed by rubble.
A house collapsed in neighboring Pakistan, killing one person.
After the news of the earthquake was announced, several international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and several countries such as Pakistan, South Korea, Iran and Turkey have been delivering relief goods and humanitarian aid.
However, the Taliban government does not have enough administrative power to deal with large-scale disasters, and the local activities of international organizations have been greatly reduced due to Western sanctions, and it is known that there are considerable difficulties in relief work.
In response, Abdul Kahar Balki, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Taliban government, expressed gratitude for the promise of support from the international community, including the Red Cross, but appealed for support from the international community, saying, “The aid must be expanded on a very large scale.”
Afghanistan, which has been in a civil war for decades, has fallen into a serious economic crisis since the Taliban took power in August last year.