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Massive earthquake leaves more than 1,000 dead in Afghanistan

June 22nd, 2022 | Tags:
In this image taken from video from Bakhtar State News Agency, Taliban fighters secure a government helicopter to evacuate injured people in Gayan district, Paktika province, Afghanistan, Wednesday, June 22, 2022. An earthquake struck eastern Afghanistan early Wednesday, killing at least 255 people, authorities said. Photo: Bakhtar State News Agency via AP

Late Tuesday night, a powerful earthquake killed over 1,000 people and left hundreds more injured in a rural, mountainous region of southeastern Afghanistan, officials told Bakhtar News Agency (BNA). As more information comes from the remote mountain villages, officials say the death toll is expected to grow.

"The death toll is likely to rise as some of the villages are in remote areas in the mountains, and it will take some time to collect details," Salahuddin Ayubi, an interior ministry official said, Reuters reported.

With the increasing death toll, Tuesday night's quake is now the deadliest earthquake to hit the country since 2002, when a 6.1 magnitude tremor killed about 1,000 people.

The U.S. Geological Survey recorded the magnitude at 5.9, with a depth of 6.21 miles (10 kilometers), which is a factor that could increase the amount of damage. The earthquake's epicenter was in Afghanistan's Paktika province, which is just near the border and roughly about 31 miles (50 kilometers) southwest of the Afghanistan city, Khost.

The Associated Press reported an earthquake of this size is expected to cause severe damage in the remote area since homes and other buildings are poorly constructed and landslides are common.

Helicopters were deployed in the rescue effort to reach the injured and fly in medical supplies and food. Photos from social media show the houses and buildings that were turned into rubble after the quake shook the region. Other images show people being carried into helicopters to be airlifted from the area, while some people were being treated right at the scene.

Reuters wrote that rescue efforts will be a major test for the Taliban, who took over the country in August and have been cut off from international assistance because of sanctions. Some of those sanctions were on Afghanistan's banking sector and billions of dollars of developmental aid were cut.

Despite some of the sanctions, humanitarian aid has continued with international agencies such as the United Nations (U.N.).

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