KABUL, Afghanistan – Dadamir Khan lost his three daughters, son and mother on Wednesday in one of the The most powerful earthquakes hit Afghanistan in decades.
Now, he worries about who in his family will not survive the aftermath of the earthquake, as medicines for the injured are becoming scarce.
“It felt like a huge explosion,” Khan, 45, told NBC News.
The farmer, from the remote mountainous province of Paktika near the Pakistani border, said he was hit several times by the 5.9-magnitude earthquake, according to the US Geological Survey.
His son Nabi Allah, 7, and his three daughters – Layla, 4, said; Amina, 3 years old; Nazia, two, and her mother, Guljama, 65, were killed.
He said other members of his family are receiving treatment at the hospital, “but they are not well due to the lack of enough medication in the facility.”
“We are looking forward to moving them elsewhere,” he added.
Officials from Taliban rulers Afghanistan They said at least 1,000 people died and 1,500 were injured in the quake, which had its epicenter in Paktika province, although they warned that the death toll could continue to rise.
Footage from villages nestled among rugged mountains showed residents sifting through the rubble of collapsed homes, with many fearful of being trapped under collapsed buildings.
Zarinullah Shah said that a large proportion of his community in Barmal district of Paktika province have lost family members.
“In our area, the majority of homes are built with mud,” said Shah, 47, adding that most of the buildings he used to live in were damaged or destroyed and about 300 families lost their homes.
As a result, he said, they had no choice but to spend the night in the open.
He said that thousands were in dire need of tents, blankets, food and medicine, adding that “the Afghan government was trying to help the wounded, but they do not have enough resources, especially helicopters and doctors to meet the needs of the affected people.”
“The situation is very bad,” said Dr. Muhammad Anwar Hanif, senior program coordinator for Care International in Afghanistan, one of the few international aid agencies that remained in the country after the Taliban seized power in August. The allies are ready to withdraw.
Hanif, who has been coordinating relief efforts from the capital, Kabul, added that ambulances cannot easily reach the affected areas.
In a rare move, the reclusive Taliban leader, God’s glory AkhundzadehAnd he, who has almost never appeared in public, called on “the international community and all humanitarian organizations to help the Afghan people affected by this great tragedy and to spare no effort to help those affected.”
“We ask God to save our poor people from trials and harm,” he said in a statement issued by the Taliban spokesman.
But the response is likely to be complicated because many governments are wary of dealing directly with the militant group, which has issued a series of repressive decrees limiting the Women and girls rightsand the press, which reminds us of the last time it was in power, before the American invasion in the aftermath of 9/11 attacks.
The international community’s reluctance may slow the deployment of emergency aid and teams that would normally be dispatched after such natural disasters.
The earthquake also struck at a time when Afghanistan was already deep in one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with millions facing growing hunger and poverty after international funding to the Taliban was cut off.
“People are unemployed,” Hanif said. “They have no income, so the private sector is not doing well.”
He added that it was difficult to move abroad to purchase medical supplies and that this was exacerbated by the fact that the country “was suffering from low income on the one hand and high costs on the other.”
With vast swathes of the country devastated, he said his country needed a “short-term plan to provide food, shelter, medicine and medical support”.
“Unfortunately, this will have far-reaching consequences for people,” he added.
Reported by Ahmad Manjali from Kabul and Mushtaq Yousafzai from Peshawar, Pakistan.
News agency Contributed.