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Officials said that a strong earthquake slammed a remote border region of Afghanistan overnight, killing at least 920 people and injuring hundreds more. As rescuers search amid collapsed homes, the death toll is anticipated to grow.
Africa Daily News, New Yorrk gathered that the 5.9 magnitude earthquake was most severe in the arid east, where residents already lead precarious lives in a nation gripped by a humanitarian catastrophe made worse by the Taliban takeover in August.
The country’s supreme leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, predicted that the death toll would probably continue to grow as reports of victims came in from remote mountain areas throughout the day.
“So far the information we have is that at least 920 people have been martyred and 600 injured,” Sharafuddin Muslim, the deputy minister for disaster management, told a press conference in the capital, Kabul.
Earlier, a tribal leader from Paktika province – one of the hardest hit areas – said survivors and rescuers were scrambling to help those affected.
“The local markets are closed and all the people have rushed to the affected areas,” Yaqub Manzor told AFP by telephone.
Photographs and video clips posted on social media showed scores of badly damaged mud houses in remote rural areas.
Some footage showed local residents loading victims into a military helicopter.
Even before the Taliban takeover, Afghanistan’s emergency response teams were stretched to deal with the natural disasters that frequently struck the country.
But with only a handful of airworthy planes and helicopters, an immediate response is often limited.
‘The government is working within its capabilities,’ tweeted Anas Haqqani, a senior Taliban official.
‘We hope that the International Community & aid agencies will also help our people in this dire situation.’
The United Nations and European Union were quick to offer help.