GAYAN, Afghanistan — The death toll of children in last week’s devastating earthquake in southeastern Afghanistan has risen to at least 155, the United Nations has said as the scale of the deadliest earthquake to have hit the country impoverished in two decades becomes clearer.
The UN’s humanitarian coordination organization OCHA said on Sunday that another 250 children were injured in the magnitude 6 quake that hit mountainous villages in Paktika and Khost provinces near the country’s border with the country. Pakistan, leveling houses and causing landslides. Most of the children died in the hard-hit Gayan district of Paktika, which remains a scene of life in ruins, days after the quake.
Taliban leaders in Afghanistan put the total death toll from the quake at 1,150, with hundreds injured, while the UN offered a slightly lower estimate of 770, although the world body warned that this figure could increase further.
The quake also left about 65 orphaned or unaccompanied children, the UN humanitarian office added.
The disaster – the latest to rock Afghanistan after decades of war, hunger, poverty and economic crisis – 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 virtually overnight. Governments around the world have stepped up sanctions, halted bank transfers and frozen billions more in Afghanistan’s currency reserves, refusing to recognize the Taliban government and demanding that it allow a more inclusive regime and respect human rights. ‘man.
Former insurgents resisted the pressure, imposing restrictions on the freedoms of women and girls reminiscent of their first stint in power in the late 1990s, sparking a Western backlash.
Aware of their limits, the Taliban appealed for foreign aid. The UN and an array of overwhelmed aid agencies in the country that have been trying to keep Afghanistan from the brink of starvation have swung into action. Despite funding and access constraints, aid convoys poured into remote provinces.
The UN children’s agency said on Monday it was working to reunite children who had been separated from their families in the chaos of the quake. He also set up clinics to offer psychological and mental health support to children in Gayan traumatized by the disaster.