Rescue operations continue in quake-hit Afghan provinces

Updated: 2015-10-28 08:56


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Dozens of relief workers have already arrived in areas in northern Badakhshan, Takhar, Parwan and eastern Nangarhar, as well as in Kunar provinces. "Food kits and kitchen tools have also been distributed to victims and survivors in many villages," added Sayas.

Parts of eastern Kabul, including Kabul city, Nuristan, Laghman,and northern Baghlan provinces were also affected by the disaster.

"Luckily, the quake began with a weak tremor, giving people a chance to leave their houses for safer areas. Fortunately, the casualties are lower than initially expected," Sayas said.

"Nearly all of the affected areas are located in mountainous provinces. Some of our rescue teams and assessment groups have been facing difficulties in reaching far-flung villages. They have been facing the challenges of difficult terrain as many rough roads are blocked by quake-triggered landslides," the disaster official noted.

When asked whether the country was in need of assistance, the official said that the United States, Turkey and Iran have showed their readiness to offer assistance to the ongoing relief efforts.

"We are appreciative of their moves and we would welcome any kind of assistance provided by any country," he said.

Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said he was greatly saddened by the casualties and losses caused by Monday's earthquake, and expressed his sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims, according to a statement posted on the country's presidential Palace website.

"President Ghani has assigned an assessment committee to provide emergency assistance for the victims. Also, the President has directed the Ministry of Public Health to take immediate action to provide treatment for the injured," the statement read.

On Monday afternoon, shortly after the disaster, the chief executive of the government, Abdullah Abdullah, presiding over the meeting of NDMA, instructed the Ministry for Public Health as well as national and international aid agencies to cooperate in the best interests of the affected people in the quake-hit areas.

Earlier in the day, Khwaja Qamaruddin Seddiqi, an advisor to the country's public health ministry, told a local publication that 78 people were confirmed dead while 480 others sustained injures as of Tuesday afternoon.

"The number of casualties may go up to over 100 and more than 500 injured in the coming hours," Seddiqi said.

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