A powerful earthquake has hit Afghanistan and killed over 1,000 people, injuring an estimated 1,500 more, with officials saying that the death toll is expected to rise. The EMSC put the earthquake’s magnitude at 6.1, but the USGC said it was 5.9. The earthquake hit around 1:30 a.m. local time, when many were at home asleep, around 44 kilometers from the city of Khost. Quake tremors were also felt in the capital Kabul and as far away as Pakistan and India.
The Taliban’s supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhundzadah, issued pleas to the international community “to help the Afghan people affected by this great tragedy and to spare no effort."
This comes during a time when the people of Afghanistan are already struggling, with over a third of its population unable to meet their basic needs. And because poorer nations have weaker infrastructure and resources, they’re more vulnerable to natural disasters. The ongoing conflict in the region has also made it virtually impossible to improve their infrastructure.
“The isolation of the Afghan economy following last August’s political crisis risks erasing development gains achieved over the past two decades, leading to grave poverty, displacement, fragility, and extremism threats to Afghanistan, the region, and the world, says the World Bank’s new Afghanistan Development Update,” wrote the World Bank in April. “… per capita incomes are likely to have fallen by around one-third over the last months of 2021, wiping out economic progress achieved since 2007, and leading to significantly increased household hardship. The economic collapse has been driven by sharp declines in international grants, loss of access to the overseas assets of the central bank, disruption to international banking relationships, and a loss of investment confidence.”
“Most of the victims are women and children because they were caught asleep by the calamity … there is absolute shortage of resources, doctors and all other things needed,” said Firdaus Khan, a resident of Sharana. “People don’t know what to do."