Desperate people are fighting against the clock and heavy rain in Afghanistan. No one yet has an overview of how many lives the earthquake on Wednesday night claimed.
According to local authorities At least 1,000 people died in the quake which affected the two provinces of Paktika and Khost, but roads and the mobile network have been destroyed in many places and it is therefore difficult to get an overview of the extent.
– Anyone who wants to help the earthquake victims in Afghanistan, no matter where they are from in the world: send donations to the Afghan Red Crescent.
It writes Abdul Qahar Balkhi, a spokesman for the Taliban on Twitter.
He follows up the message with a number of account numbers where you can deposit money.
The Red Crescent is the Red Cross of the Muslim world.
In a statement, he said that the authorities “are not able to provide sufficient financial support to people”.
The affected area is remote and it is difficult to get emergency aid to those affected. There are few functioning hospitals in the whole country.
The roof fell down
The earthquake in the Paktika provision is the largest in 20 years. It has leveled an entire village.
“I heard a crash and my bed began to shake,” says Shabir in the ruined village of Gayan BBC.
– The roof fell down. I was trapped but could see the sky. I got an injury to the head and shoulder out of joint, but managed to get out. I think between seven and nine people who were with me in the house are dead.
The Afghanistan Committee has a surgical team on its way to the area.
– Afghanistan lacks health personnel for many doctors and nurses have fled to the west after the Taliban came to power, says Terje Watterdal, country director of the Afghanistan Committee.
He says that the hospitals are already full of people who have been admitted due to malnutrition.
– There is hardly a vacant hospital bed. This is a crisis on top of many other crises, says Watterdal.
There are reports of 10,000 destroyed houses, which means that around 100,000 people are now homeless.
– The sanctions against the Taliban government have meant that many of the country’s hospitals are closed because the health personnel have not been paid for a long time, says senior researcher at Christian Michelsen’s Institute Arne Strand.
Half of the country’s inhabitants live on emergency aid. The country’s Ministry of Disaster and Emergency Preparedness (AMDA) has also been affected by the sanctions. They have barely received any money, which makes them ill-suited to deal with such a disaster.
Before the Taliban takeover last summer, 80 percent of the state budget was covered by foreign aid. When the Taliban government last presented the first state budget, it was a seventh part of the previous budget. As a result, public employees in schools and hospitals have not been paid for several months.
The economic sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council against the Taliban have led the World Bank to stop transferring money to the country.
Strand is concerned that the sanctions will also mean that houses, schools and health clinics that have been razed to the ground will not be rebuilt.
– Fortunately, Pakistan has opened the border. We can hope that all the aid organizations send their people to this area. Every hour counts now, says Strand.
Missing plane and helicopter
Earthquakes of this magnitude destroy roads and make it difficult for emergency aid to get in and for the wounded to be transported out. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of helicopters in the entire country.
“Corrupt government members used the country’s helicopters and fled when the Taliban took power,” says Terje Watterdal.
He tells about how the country’s political elite fled the country and what they took with them on the journey.
– These helicopters are now in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The former members of the government have no plans to return them.
The helicopters are US property and the United States does not want them to be used by the Taliban.
At the same time, the sanctions against the country have made it impossible to buy new helicopters. Spare parts for helicopters are also on the sanctions list.
The UN flies in cash
Afghanistan now lacks both educated people and money. Emergency aid is not on the sanctions list, but the money for hospitals does not go through the state, but through the UN to aid organizations.
Because the World Bank no longer sends money to the country, the UN has flowed in cash. They play a crucial role in crises like this.
“Our teams are already on the ground, assessing needs and providing additional support,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
– We expect that the international community will help the several hundred families affected by this latest disaster. The time has come for solidarity.