As natural disasters seem to overtake the world, energy shortages soar along with violence. Many consider the world’s state today to be Earth’s way of regulating itself. However, it seems evident that the irrational violence and recurring natural disasters are a response to the world’s reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yesterday, an earthquake overtook Afghanistan 100 miles outside southeast of Kabul, in arid mountains dotted with tiny settlements near the border with Pakistan. The quake killed at least 1,000 people. The quake will likely be Afghanistan’s largest earthquake in 20 years. As the country grapples with its severe economic crisis, they are now thrown into the bowels of something nobody could prevent 6.1 quake shook Afghanistan’s already unsteady footing.
Relief aid reached the affected area Thursday. However, due to the rough terrain and poor communication, rescuers are having difficulty reaching people that would require rescue. Unknown numbers were buried in the rubble of ruined, often mud-built homes, further deterring rescue efforts. Doctors in Afghanistan specified to BBC that many children’s lives were lost in the quake.
According to Reuters, the earthquake killed 1,000 and injured 1,500. With an estimation of more than 3,000 houses getting destroyed, it seems as though this region was left torn apart. According to BBC, villagers who shared their stories were eager to show their demolished lives, using their destroyed houses to showcase how bad it was. Some even demanded the Taliban rebuild their ruined homes.
Although Afghanistan is prone to earthquakes, it seems as though this is the most deadly one in nearly two decades. The country is located in a tectonically active region, over several fault lines. The U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that, as a result, over the past decade, more than 7,000 people have been killed in earthquakes in the country.
Mohammad Ismail Muawiyah, a spokesman for the top Taliban military commander in the hardest-hit Paktika province, told Reuters, referring to telephone networks, “We can’t reach the area, the networks are too weak, we trying to get updates,” The Taliban authorities have called for more international aid due to how badly the communication networks were hit. Further hindering rescue crews were the flood waters in the Paktika province, proving it even more extreme for rescuers to reach the affected areas.
The United Nations is among the many scrambling to provide emergency shelter and food aid to remote areas in Paktika. The head of the UN, António Guterres, said the agency had “fully mobilized” over the disaster. Japan and South Korea have both agreed to send aid to help rescue efforts.
After getting hit with sanctions due to a worsening humanitarian crisis, Afghanistan was ‘cut off’ from international assistance. The Taliban’s response to this natural disaster will be a significant signifier of whether the hard-line Islamist Taliban, who took over last August as U.S.-led international forces withdrew after two decades, is as mighty as it made itself seem. In an appeal to aid donors in late March, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “Afghanistan’s economy has all but collapsed.”
As present-day Afghanistan grows more than grim, all one can do is hope rescuers adjust to the continuous obstacles getting thrown it’s way.