KABUL: Foreign aid finally began to reach remote eastern Afghanistan on Friday as the death toll from a devastating reached at least 1,150 people.
The 6.1 magnitude tremor hit areas of Paktika and Khost provinces neighboring Pakistan on Tuesday night, flattening people’s homes as they slept.
“Search operations are over, but helicopters are still on the ground if any injured people are found,” Ministry of Defense official Rohullah Omar told Arab News. “There’s adequate emergency aid reaching the area.”
Aircraft with aid landed from Qatar, Iran, and India, and trucks with food and medical supplies reached Paktika by road from Pakistan. A plane with food supplies from the UAE landed in Khost, from where it should quickly reach Paktika by road and military helicopter, authorities said.
As food supplies have already arrived in the affected areas, the most urgent need now was shelter since the majority of the region’s inhabitants were left homeless.
“People need shelter, and we would want aid organizations to help people with rebuilding their houses,” Omar said.
Abdulfatah Jawad, the head of Ehsas Welfare and Social Services Organization, one of the local NGOs delivering assistance to Paktika, told Arab News that immediate food relief was sufficient and regularly distributed, but more tents and blankets were needed.
“A lot of families are still seen sitting in the ruins of their houses. One family lost 12 members. Women are sitting on torn pieces of clothes,” he said. “People are so scared that even with a mild wind they scream thinking it’s an earthquake again.”