GAYAN, Afghanistan ( Associated Press) – The death toll of children in last week’s devastating earthquake in southeastern Afghanistan has risen to at least 155, the United Nations said, taking into account the range of the deadliest quake to hit the poor country in two decades. Comes.
The UN’s Humanitarian Coordination Organization, OCHA, said on Sunday that a magnitude 6 earthquake in mountain villages in Paktika and Khost provinces near the country’s border with Pakistan injured 250 other children, leveled homes and triggered landslides. Gave. Most of the children died in the hard-hit Gaya district of Paktika, which remains the scene of life in ruins until days after the quake.
Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers put the total death toll from the quake at 1,150, which left hundreds injured, while the United Nations has estimated a slightly lower figure of 770, though the world body has warned the figure could still rise. .
The United Nations Humanitarian Office said the quake left an estimated 65 children orphaned or homeless.
The disaster – the latest to crush Afghanistan after decades of war, hunger, poverty and an economic crash – has become a test of the Taliban’s ability to govern and the international community’s willingness to help.
When the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan as the United States and its NATO allies withdrew their forces last August, foreign aid stopped practically overnight. World governments piled on sanctions, halted bank transfers and deposited billions more in Afghanistan’s currency reserves, refusing to recognize the Taliban government and demanding that they allow a more inclusive rule and protect human rights. pay respect.
Former rebels who have resisted pressure by imposing restrictions on the freedoms of women and girls, who remember their first time in power in the late 1990s, sparked a Western backlash.
Aware of its borders, the Taliban have appealed for foreign aid. The United Nations and a series of highly aided agencies in the country have swung into action, trying to save Afghanistan from the brink of starvation. Despite constraints on funding and access, aid convoys have penetrated remote provinces.
The United Nations Children’s Agency said on Monday it was working to reunite children who were separated from their families during the earthquake. It has also set up clinics to provide mental health and psychological support to the children affected by the disaster.