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Afghanistan Earthquake Survivors Plead for Aid as Death Toll Nears 3,000

HeadlineOct 10, 2023

In Afghanistan, Taliban officials say the death toll is nearing 3,000 after Saturday’s massive 6.3-magnitude earthquake devastated the western Herat province. Hundreds of people are still missing. Their families have spent nights sleeping among the rubble of villages that were decimated by the quake and its aftershocks, hoping to find their loved ones as they dig through the wreckage with shovels. Bulldozers are being used to clear space for long rows of graves. These are two of the survivors.

Pari Gul: “My two grandchildren are dead. They are buried over there. I lost my whole life. Everything is under the rubble.”

Ataullah: “We want the government and other aid agencies to pay attention to us, to provide us with shelter and food so that the cold weather does not kill us. You can see our situation. They should give their full attention to everyone impacted.”

Afghanistan was already facing a spiraling humanitarian crisis — worsened by U.S.-led sanctions on the Taliban — with at least 15 million people struggling to access food and other resources. The United Nations is allocating funds for aid, while Pakistan, Iran and China have all pledged to send food, medicine, tents and more funds. Iran and Pakistan have also offered to send rescue workers.

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