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Relief work ongoing in Afghanistan after deadly earthquake

Sirajuddin Haqqani, FBI's most-wanted man, supervising relief efforts in eastern Paktika province

Islamuddin Sajid   | 24.06.2022
Relief work ongoing in Afghanistan after deadly earthquake Search and rescue operations continue as a magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck the country's east, in Paktika, Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD

Relief and rescue efforts are at full throttle in Afghanistan after an earthquake destroyed the eastern border region of the landlocked country, the interim Taliban administration said Friday. 

Tuesday's earthquake left 1,150 people dead and 1,600 others wounded, according to Taliban officials.

Hundreds of houses have been destroyed in the Barmal, Gyan, and Spera districts of Paktika, said Abdul Wahid Rayan, a senior Taliban official and director-general of state-run Bakhtar News Agency.

Interim Home Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is still on the FBI's most-wanted list, is supervising the efforts in Paktika, the most affected province, according to Bakhtar News Agency.

Thanking friendly countries for their help, Haqqani announced the Taliban will rebuild the destroyed houses and will provide assistance to the disaster victims.

"We are thankful to all countries who helped us in this difficult time and our government will provide all assistance and help to the victim families," Haqqani said.

So far, humanitarian aid from Pakistan, Qatar, Iran, and India has arrived in the country.

Also, self-ruled Taiwan has pledged to donate $1 million to the victims of the earthquake.

Janez Lenarcic, the EU commissioner for crisis management, estimated that around 270,000 people living in the affected areas will require assistance.

The EU, he said, has mobilized an initial €1 million ($1.05 million) in emergency support to Afghanistan. 

On Wednesday, the Taliban announced an aid package of 1 billion Afghanis (over $11 million) for the victims.

However, the country is cash-strapped after the exit of foreign forces last August and the fall of the US-backed Kabul administration.

Against this backdrop, the Taliban have urged the international community for aid.

"We call on natural disaster management agencies & the international community to provide immediate & comprehensive aid to the Afghan people on basis of humanitarianism so that the victims are able to financially rebuild their livelihoods," said Abdul Qahar Balkhi, spokesman of the interim Foreign Ministry, in a tweet.  

*Riyaz ul Khaliq in Istanbul contributed to this report.

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