Humanitarian disaster | Dialogue |

he international community and humanitarian organizations are providing tents, food and aid to eastern Afghanistan following the deadly June 22 earthquake. Muhammad Ameen Huzaifa, the Paktika government spokesman, said the death toll stood at 1,150. He said at least 1,600 people were injured.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) says the earthquake’s magnitude was 5.9, revising an initial estimate of 6.1 on the Richter scale. The quake’s epicenter was about 46 kilometers from the town of Khost, near the border with Pakistan, according to the USGS.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) said humanitarian response efforts in the affected areas have been intensified after receiving the devastating news from Giyan and Barmal in Paktika province and from Spera in Khost. , the most affected districts. OCHA says a $10 million rapid response window has been submitted to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).

“At least 155 children were killed and nearly 250 children were injured by the earthquake with 86% of lives lost in Giyan district, 134 in Paktika province alone. Additionally, 65 children are believed to have been orphaned or unaccompanied following the tremors,” the OCHA needs assessment report revealed.

The report also states that 1,900 houses in Giyan, 1,028 in Barmal, 450 in Paktika and Spera province and 416 in Khost province were destroyed. Across Khost and Paktika, seven schools reportedly suffered damage to the boundary wall, windows, roofs or classrooms in Spera and Giyan districts. Together, these schools have 5,135 students.

OCHA’s assessment report, however, indicates that several logistical challenges remain, including limited communication channels due to the breakdown of mobile networks in parts of Paktika and Khost provinces, and poor road conditions in the district. of Spera in the province of Khost. On average, the road trip from Urgun district to Spera district in Khost province takes at least five hours. The establishment of camps for humanitarian actors in the three most affected districts is an immediate priority.

Yaseen Jan and her younger brother lost 11 family members in the earthquake. The brothers survive because they study and live in the city. Paktika’s social media influencers have launched a humanitarian campaign. They share information about those affected. Rahim Khoshal, a journalist from Paktika, says the earthquake has damaged hundreds of homes and the homeless need tents, food and medical assistance as there is no proper hospital in Giyan District.

At least 155 children were killed and nearly 250 children were injured by the earthquake with 86 percent of lives lost in Giyan district, 134 in Paktika province alone. In addition, 65 children are believed to have been orphaned or left alone as a result of the tremors.

Due to the lack of road infrastructure in the affected area of ​​Paktika, humanitarian organizations are finding it difficult to deliver aid. Tahir Khan, a Pakistani journalist covering the Paktika disaster, says the dilapidated roads are a major obstacle for aid agencies. The mountainous terrain and limited road connectivity in remote areas pose a major challenge for aid workers, but aid organizations and the local administration are trying to reach earthquake victims in remote villages.

Afghan Health Minister Dr. Qalandar Abid has called on international humanitarian organizations to provide food, shelter and other forms of humanitarian assistance to those affected by the quake.

In a video message on Twitter, Sardar Ahmad Shakib, the charge d’affaires of the Afghan Embassy in Islamabad, said heavy human and financial losses were reported in Paktika and Khost due to the earthquake. He called on the community and international organizations to come to the aid of the Afghans.

After the earthquake, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government responded by sending 19 paramedics and doctors to Khost on June 23. The provincial government also sent three ambulances and a mobile hospital to treat the injured at the scene. The seriously injured were transferred to hospitals in Pakistan. The KP medical team was among the first to reach the affected areas.

Mansoor Ahmad Khan, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Afghanistan, tweeted: “Relief efforts are continuing in the earthquake affected areas in Afghanistan with contributions from government and non-government sectors. The Afridi medical complex also sent a team of 10 doctors along with medical supplies. »

The Pakistani government has dispatched a military cargo plane carrying relief supplies to Khost province. The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also dispatched 16 trucks carrying relief items. These include five hundred tents, five hundred cooking kits, five hundred hygiene kits, five hundred mattresses and two hundred tarpaulins. Kamran Bangash, the KP Minister for Higher Education, Archives and Libraries, tweeted that the provincial government had provided 1,000 food parcels to quake victims.

To help those affected, several fundraising camps have been established in various parts of the KP. In Peshawar, the press and publishing industry has set up camp in the historic Qissa Khawani bazaar. A similar camp was established at Kashmir Chowk in Parachinar, the Kurram district headquarters.

The writer is a multimedia journalist. He tweets @daudpasaney

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