New Delhi [India], June 22 (ANI): India on Wednesday expressed condolences to the victims and their families impacted by the tragic earthquake in Afghanistan, which resulted in the death of over a thousand people.
A severe earthquake struck in the early hours of this morning near the city of Khost in the southeastern part of the country. The most affected areas are in Spera District in Khost Province, and Barmala, Ziruk, Naka and Gayan districts in Paktika Province.
More than 1000 people were killed in Afghanistan after a powerful earthquake hit the country on Wednesday. "We have over 1,000 dead and over 1,500 wounded. Many villages were destroyed," Amin Huzaifa, the head of the culture and information department of the Paktika province, told Sputnik.
India said it remains committed to providing assistance and support in this hour of need.
"India expresses sympathy and condolences to the victims and their families, and to all those impacted by the tragic earthquake in Afghanistan. We share the grief of the people of Afghanistan and remain committed to providing assistance and support in this hour of need," said External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.
Afghanistan's TOLOnews reported that the earthquake occurred around 1:30 AM last night. He said that many of the victims are from the Giyan district of the province.
According to local officials, helicopter and rescue teams have arrived in the area.
Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said that an emergency cabinet meeting was held today to discuss assistance for the people affected by the earthquake. "In addition to helping the people affected by the earthquake, all relevant organizations were tasked to send rescue teams," he said.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the epicentre was 44 kilometres from Khost city, and it measured 6.1 on the Richter scale.
The disaster comes as Afghanistan continues to struggle with a severe economic crisis since the Taliban took over, as US-led international forces withdrew following two decades of war.
A UN agency said Afghanistan had asked humanitarian agencies to help with rescue efforts, and teams were being dispatched to the quake-hit area.
"The UN and humanitarian country team in Afghanistan expresses deep sympathy to all people affected by this disaster. We will be issuing a flash update later today with further details on the situation and response," the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said in a tweet.
The UN and humanitarian partners have been requested to support the de facto disaster management authority in assessing and responding to immediate needs. "Inter-agency assessment teams have already been deployed to a number of affected areas," it added. (ANI)