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Deadly Afghanistan Earthquake Leaves Thousands Desperate

By: Alice Cai

The 5.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Afghanistan on Wednesday has left thousands dead or injured, destroyed homes, and sounded the call for the urgent need of more aid and supplies.

While a 5.9 magnitude is considered only moderate, the earthquake caused severe damage because it hit at night, when many people were asleep, and because most of the houses were made of masonry or mud. Additionally, the built-up stresses at the seismically active location made the shallow quake release a large amount of energy.

Afghan officials estimated that over 1,000 were killed, and the United Nations humanitarian office estimated 1,500 houses were destroyed. Thousands of survivors spent hours trying to dig out their family members and retrieve what was left of their wiped-out villages. “I lost everything, my whole world, my whole family, I don’t have any hope for the future,” Hawa, a victim of the earthquake, said.

Displaced residents are now desperately waiting for aid, but there have been struggles regarding delivering supplies to remote mountainous regions, such as Geyan. Due to the steep and treacherous paths, trucks have had to offload boxes of food they were carrying or risk having them falling off. Internationally, the United States, United Nations, as well as other nations, including South Korea, have started delivering assistance and supplies despite their rocky relationships with the Taliban government.

Since the Taliban took over the government last year, the country has encountered many issues, from militant attacks to widespread famine; the earthquake added to that list of problems. “We were happy that war was over,” Abdul Hanan, who lost 17 family members to the earthquake, said, “We were not expecting destruction like this could happen.” Furthermore, the United Nations warned of the risk of a cholera outbreak, which could worsen due to the lack of shelter and sanitation.

Link to Article: https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/06/23/world/afghanistan-earthquake#why-was-a-moderately-strong-earthquake-so-deadly

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