Feature: Chilly weather adds miseries to quake victims in northern Afghanistan

October 30, 2015 11:03 am 

By Haleem

KISHAM, Afghanistan, Oct. 29 (PNA/Xinhua) — Chilly weather and frosty winds have added miseries to the victims of a strong earthquake that devastated a wide swath of Afghanistan's northern Badakhshan province on Monday.

The authorities said that more than 100 people had been killed in Afghanistan in the magnitude-7.5 quake.

"We are suffering not only from the weather which is getting colder but also from the lack of government aid in the form of food and in rebuilding our homes," Mohammad Majid of Badakhshan province told Xinhua.

Majid, who is now living in his uncle's home along with his family, said that they are still waiting for the government in Kabul and foreign humanitarian agencies to come, providing them with food and help rebuild their homes.

"Our primary need in the affected villages is to rebuild our homes and we ask the government for help before the chilly weather gets worse and before the snowfall," Majid, 30, said.

Wais Barmak, state minister for the Disaster Management and Response, told the Wolesi Jirga, or Lower House of Afghan parliament, on Wednesday that the earthquake, one of the strongest to hit the region, killed 115 in Afghanistan, 15 of them in Badakhshan province.

He said that a total of 556 were injured, 7,630 residential houses destroyed or severely damaged, and more than 1,000 heads of cattle were killed across the country.

Abdullah Naji Nazari, head of Badakhshan provincial council, in talks with Xinhua also confirmed that they are still waiting for assistance from the government in Kabul.

Nazari said that aside from the 15 killed in Badakhshan province, there were 67 injured and more than 2,700 houses destroyed, most of them in the districts of Kisham, Jurm, Yamgan, Shagnan and Wardoj.

"This was the first time that I experienced such a powerful quake. We were terribly shaken," Faiz Mohammad, 47, another survivor from Kisham, said.

Faiz said that most of those killed were inside their houses while those outside were saved because they have the chance to seek cover.

"Thank God, my wife and children were with me in the farm when the quake struck so we were all saved," Faiz said. But he said their mud house was flattened.

Abdul Mohammad, another victim from Soch village in Jurm District, appealed to the government and international aid agencies to help them rebuild their houses before the weather worsens.

Abdul said that his old mother was killed during the earthquake and his house was totally destroyed.

"The quake victims would face more hardships in the coming days and weeks if no shelter, warm clothes and food could reach us," Abdul said.

Wais Barmak has assured parliamentarians that the government "would spare no efforts" in providing the victims with assistance in food and in rebuilding their homes.

The Red Cross Society of China on Wednesday donated 100,000 U.S. dollars to the Afghan Red Crescent Society as emergency assistance to help the earthquake-hit nation alleviate its sufferings. (PNA/Xinhua)



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