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Earthquake in Afghanistan: Thousand dead, UN Rushes to Provide Aid

According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), thousands of children are "at risk after this devastating earthquake in the east of the country".

Earthquake in Afghanistan

“UN agencies are assessing needs and responding to the aftermath of last night’s earthquake which claimed hundreds of lives,” tweeted Dr Ramiz Alakbarov, UN Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan. According to the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in that country, search and rescue operations are ongoing and are being led by the de facto authorities.

The UN and humanitarian partners were asked to support the de facto disaster management authority in the assessment. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), inter-agency assessment teams have already been deployed to several areas affected by the earthquake.

Two earthquakes, of magnitude 5.9 and 4.5, occurred at almost the same place and at the same time in the province of Khost and Paktika, a mountainous and difficult-to-reach region near Pakistan. According to OCHA, the quake — which was recorded at a depth of 10 km — was felt in neighbouring provinces, including Kabul, as well as in Islamabad, Pakistan and India.

The toll of the powerful earthquake that struck southeastern Afghanistan overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday, June 22 continues to climb over the hours. Initially assessed at several dozen and then several hundred, the number of dead has now exceeded one thousand according to information communicated by the official authorities at midday.

“Initial reports indicate that the number of people killed and injured is in the hundreds,” said OCHA, noting that the number of victims is expected to increase as search and rescue operations are underway.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), thousands of children are “at risk after this devastating earthquake in the east of the country”.

“We do not yet know the full extent of the devastation, but we believe that hundreds of people have been killed, including many women and children,” said in a statement, Dr. Mohamed Ayoya, Representative of UNICEF in Afghanistan, noting that many more have been injured. According to UNICEF, these numbers are expected to increase as reports continue to come in.

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