Afghanistan ready for widespread cholera after worst earthquake in 20 years

Afghanistan Could face widespread cholera outbreak with half a million cases of acute diarrhea already reported in the wake of yesterday’s devastating earthquake,

The UN Humanitarian Office (OCHA) said preparations were already underway to contain the pandemic after a powerful aftershock that killed at least 1,000 people and destroyed hundreds of homes.

“The post-earthquake cholera outbreak is of particular and serious concern,” OCHA said in a statement on Thursday. ‘Preparations are underway to avoid the outbreak.’

OCHA also said that it is trying to confirm that the search and rescue operation is almost over. Taliban Officials indicated late Wednesday that they were 90 percent complete.

Villagers are now rushing to bury the dead and digging the rubble by hand in search of survivors.

Afghanistan could be facing a widespread cholera outbreak with half a million cases of acute diarrhea already reported in the wake of yesterday’s devastating earthquake

Men standing around the bodies of those killed in the earthquake in Gayan village of Paktika province

Men standing around the bodies of those killed in the earthquake in Gayan village of Paktika province

Villagers with rescue workers investigating damage to the village after the earthquake in Bernal district

Villagers with rescue workers investigating damage to the village after the earthquake in Bernal district

The quake hit Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan, about 100 miles south of the capital, Kabul, and tremors were felt in India and Pakistan.

The quake hit Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan, about 100 miles south of the capital, Kabul, and tremors were felt in India and Pakistan.

The quake hit Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan, about 100 miles south of the capital, Kabul, and tremors were felt in India and Pakistan.

The Taliban and the international community who fled their takeover faced a struggle to help disaster victims.

In Paktika province, which was the epicenter of a magnitude 6 earthquake on Wednesday, men dug a row of graves in a village as they tried to quickly put the dead to rest, according to Muslim tradition.

In a courtyard, bodies were wrapped in plastic to protect them from rain, which is hindering relief efforts for a living.

State-run Bakhtar news agency reported the death toll and said an estimated 1,500 people were injured.

There are difficulties in reaching and communicating with the affected villages in the remote mountains, meaning the actual death toll is unknown.

Afghans keep their clothes to dry on dry bushes near the ruins of houses

Afghans keep their clothes to dry on dry bushes near the ruins of houses

A volunteer from the Al-Khidmat Foundation arranges boxes of food to be sent to people affected by the earthquake in Afghanistan, in Peshawar, Pakistan

A volunteer from the Al-Khidmat Foundation arranges boxes of food to be sent to people affected by the earthquake in Afghanistan, in Peshawar, Pakistan

“They have nothing to eat, they are wondering what they should eat and it is raining too,” said a Bakhtar reporter in footage from the earthquake area. ‘Their houses have been destroyed. Please help them, don’t leave them alone.’

The disaster has thrown more trouble on a country where millions already face rising hunger and poverty and the health system crumbling since the Taliban came to power nearly 10 months ago amid the US and NATO withdrawal. Has been.

How the international humanitarian community, which has withdrawn vital resources from the country, will be able to offer aid and to what extent the Taliban government will allow it to remain in question.

The takeover of the Taliban resulted in significant international funding cuts, and most governments are wary of dealing directly with them.

UN agencies and other organizations still operating in Afghanistan said they sent supplies including medical kits, tents and plastic cords to the region, but the needs appeared to be enormous as entire villages suffered heavy damage.

A powerful earthquake struck a rugged mountainous region in eastern Afghanistan early Wednesday, razing stone and mud-brick houses in the country's deadliest earthquake in two decades.

A powerful earthquake struck a rugged mountainous region in eastern Afghanistan early Wednesday, razing stone and mud-brick houses in the country’s deadliest earthquake in two decades.

An Afghan child is treated inside a hospital in the city of Sharan after being injured in an earthquake in Gyan district

An Afghan child is treated inside a hospital in the city of Sharan after being injured in an earthquake in Gyan district

One survivor, who gave his name as Hakimullah, said, ‘We ask the Islamic Emirate and the entire country to come forward and help us. ‘We don’t have anything and we don’t even have a tent to live in.’

Search and rescue remained a priority. In hard-hit Gaya district, much of the debris was so large that people could not move with their hands or shovels.

He said he hoped the big excavators would make it out of their far-flung homes. At present there is only one bulldozer in the area.

On Wednesday, a United Nations official said the government had asked the world body to mobilize international search-and-rescue teams or obtain equipment from neighboring countries, despite a rare plea from the Taliban’s supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, for help. was not requested.

UN agencies are facing a $3 billion funding shortfall for Afghanistan this year, and Peter Kessler, a spokesman for the UN refugee agency, said it meant there would be difficult decisions about where to get aid.

A Taliban helicopter takes off after bringing aid to the site of the earthquake in Gyan, Afghanistan

A Taliban helicopter takes off after bringing aid to the site of the earthquake in Gyan, Afghanistan

Desperate rescuers battle round the clock and heavy rains to reach cut-off areas in eastern Afghanistan

Desperate rescuers battle round the clock and heavy rains to reach cut-off areas in eastern Afghanistan

In addition to political and financial concerns, there were logistical challenges in getting aid to remote villages.

Roads, which are rough and difficult to travel in the best of conditions, can be badly damaged in earthquakes, and recent rains have made landslides somewhat impassable.

Although just 110 miles south of the capital, Kabul, it took a full day’s drive to reach some villages in Gyan District.

Rescuers arrived by helicopter – and Associated Press reporters also spotted ambulances in the quake area on Thursday – but heavy equipment would be difficult to deliver.

Walls and roofs of dozens of homes in Gyan collapsed in the earthquake, and villagers say entire families were buried under the rubble. Associated Press reporters counted nearly 50 bodies in the area alone as people laid their dead in front of their homes and in their courtyards.

While modern buildings elsewhere withstand 6 earthquakes, Afghanistan’s mud-brick houses and landslide-prone mountains make such earthquakes more dangerous.

Shallow earthquakes cause even more damage, and experts put Wednesday's depth at only 6 miles.  keep on

Shallow earthquakes cause even more damage, and experts put Wednesday’s depth at only 6 miles. keep on

Walls and roofs of dozens of homes in Gyan collapsed in the earthquake, villagers say, with entire families buried under the rubble.

Walls and roofs of dozens of homes in Gyan collapsed in the earthquake, villagers say, with entire families buried under the rubble.

Shallow earthquakes also inflict more damage, and experts put Wednesday’s depth at only 6 miles.

Despite the challenges, officials from several UN agencies said the Taliban were giving them full access to the region.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid wrote on Twitter that eight trucks of food and other necessities from Pakistan arrived at Paktika. He also said on Thursday that two humanitarian aid planes from Iran and another plane from Qatar have arrived in the country.

More direct international aid may be more difficult to obtain: many countries, including the US, provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan through the United Nations and other such organizations to avoid putting money in the hands of the Taliban.

In a news bulletin on Thursday, Afghanistan state television made a point to acknowledge that US President Joe Biden – his one-time foe – condoled the earthquake and had promised aid. Biden on Wednesday ordered the US International Aid Agency and its allies to assess options for helping victims, a White House statement said.

The death toll reported by Bakhtar was comparable to the 2002 earthquake in northern Afghanistan – the deadliest since 1998, when a 6.1-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tremors in the far northeast killed at least 4,500 people.

Wednesday’s quake was centered in Paktika province, about 31 miles southwest of Khost city, according to neighboring Pakistan’s Meteorological Department.

In the Sprey district of Khost province, which also suffered severe damage, men stood on what was once a mud house. The wooden beams were torn due to the earthquake. People sat outside under a makeshift tent made of wind-blown blankets.

Survivors quickly prepared the district’s dead, including children and an infant, for burial. Officials fear that more people will die in the coming days.

“The impact this disaster will have on local communities… is devastating, and the impact of the earthquake on the already expanding humanitarian response in Afghanistan is a serious cause for concern,” Asia’s vice president Adnan Junaid said. International Rescue Committee.

‘The most affected areas are some of the poorest and most remote areas of Afghanistan, which lack the infrastructure to withstand such disasters.’