A massive 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing at least 1,000 people and injuring at least 1,500 more.
The earthquake, also felt in Pakistan and India, struck about 27 miles from the south-eastern city of Khost early Wednesday morning as many people were asleep. It is believed to be the deadliest earthquake to hit the country in two decades.
Mohammad Amin Hazifi, the head of information for Paktika province, told BBC News that hundreds of homes were destroyed, and the death toll is expected to rise as search and rescue teams continue to look for people buried underneath the rubble.
"Every street you go, you hear people mourning the deaths of their beloved ones. Houses are ruined," a local journalist in Paktika province told the outlet.
The remote village of Gayan was also reported to be one of the worst-hit areas from the quake.
"There are no official aid workers, but people from neighboring cities and villages came here to rescue people. I arrived this morning, and I – myself – found 40 dead bodies," Local farmer Alem Wafa told the BBC.
"Most of them are young, very young children," he added. "There is a hospital here. But it can't deal with this disaster. It doesn't have the capacity."
Afghanistan is generally vulnerable to earthquakes because it is located in a tectonically active region and over several fault lines.
According to the UN's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, earthquakes in Afghanistan killed over 7,000 people over the past decade. About an average of 560 die from earthquakes each year.
In January 2022, back-to-back earthquakes struck Afghanistan, killing over 20 and destroying hundreds of houses.
The impoverished country lacks sufficient protection from earthquakes and other natural disasters due to decades of conflict. In August 2021, the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan for the first time in two decades after President Joe Biden withdrew all U.S. troops from the country.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Steve Collender
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.