Afghanistan seeks help for earthquake survivors as aftershock kills five

Afghanistan does not have enough medical supplies to treat those injured in this week’s earthquake, a senior official said, adding that Friday’s quake killed five more people.

Authorities first ended a search in the far southeastern mountains for survivors of a 6.1-magnitude quake that struck early Wednesday, about 160 km (100 miles) southeast of Kabul, near the Pakistani border.

The US Geological Survey said Friday’s quake had a magnitude of 4.3 at roughly the same location.

Mohamed Naseem Haqqani, a spokesman for the disaster ministry, told Reuters that Wednesday’s quake left nearly 2,000 people injured and 10,000 homes partially or completely destroyed.

“The health ministry doesn’t have enough medicines, we need medical aid and other necessities because it’s a big disaster,” he said.

The epicenter of Wednesday’s quake was in an area of ​​dry mountains surrounded by small settlements that were often the scene of conflict during Afghanistan’s decades-long war.

A health ministry official said five people were killed in the quake, but there was no immediate word on new damage and injuries.

Poor communications and only very basic roads have hampered relief efforts in the country reeling from a humanitarian crisis that rapidly worsened after the Taliban came to power last August as US-led international forces withdrew .

The disaster is a great test for radical Islamists, who have been largely isolated; Many people turned away because of concerns about human rights and were cut off from direct international aid because of sanctions.

Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates all said on Thursday they planned to send aid. The supplies from Pakistan have already crossed the border.

India, which has strained relations with the Taliban, said it had sent 27 tonnes of supplies on two flights to be handed over to international aid agencies.

Haqqani said before the aftershocks that the search for survivors had been called off about 48 hours after the disaster.

“The search operation is over,” he said.

He did not elaborate why this is so. People have been pulled alive after a long time from the rubble of other earthquakes.

Large parts of South Asia are seismically active because a tectonic plate known as the Indian Plate is pushing northwards into the Eurasian Plate.

In 2015, an earthquake struck the far Afghan northeast, killing several hundred people in Afghanistan and adjacent northern Pakistan.