UN: Afghan earthquake destroyed 2,000 houses

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Afghanistan’s Taliban authorities and aid workers look around a house that was destroyed by an earthquake in Gayan, Paktika province, Afghanistan, on the 22nd (local time). EPA Yonhap News

The UN forecast that the earthquake in Paktika province in southeastern Afghanistan, which claimed more than 1,000 lives, could further increase damage.

“Nearly 2,000 homes appear to have been destroyed,” said Ramiz Alaqvarov, the UN’s resident coordinator for humanitarian aid in Afghanistan, at a video briefing on the 22nd (local time).

Coordinator Alakhvarov said, “The average family size in Afghanistan is at least 7 to 8 people, and there are cases where several families live in one house.” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a separate statement that “the number of tragic casualties is likely to continue to rise.”

Afghan authorities have said that a magnitude 5.9 earthquake in Paktika province has killed more than 1,000 people.

Currently, Afghan authorities and UN agencies are conducting search and rescue operations at the earthquake-affected site, but there is no significant progress. “The United Nations does not have the tools to get people out of the rubble,” Alacvarov said. UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq also said at a regular briefing on the same day, “Helicopters are said to be unable to land due to heavy rain and strong winds. It will be,” he explained.

According to Deputy Spokesperson Hark, the World Health Organization (WHO) and a number of humanitarian organizations have dispatched health care teams to Paktika and Host states where the earthquakes have occurred, as well as medicines and medical equipment. WHO delivered 100 boxes of emergency medicines to Barmal and Giyan in Paktika province, and UNICEF dispatched at least 12 medical personnel to Giyan.

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The World Food Program (WFP) is concerned that the earthquake will further exacerbate food shortages in Afghanistan, where 19 million people are already suffering from food insecurity.

Secretary-General Guterres said, “I send my condolences to the people of Afghanistan who have suffered from years of conflict, economic hardship and hunger.”

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