(CNN) More than 1,000 people have been killed and at least 1,500 injured in Afghanistan after a magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck the country’s eastern region
The search and rescue efforts in Afghanistan are badly under-resourced.
It is difficult to overstate the remoteness of the hardest-hit area which is about 100 miles or so south of Kabul. It is built on a traditional fault line. It’s mountainous and it lacks very basic infrastructure and so the reality is that a lot of the digging for any survivors is being done without heavy equipment, is being done by local people by hand and they are pulling out a lot of bodies that are now piling up on the streets.
Remarkably though, we are also hearing stories about people who have been pulled out alive. In one area, a lot of homes are built on the side of mountains precariously. There are also a lot of other homes that are built in the valleys below which makes them extremely prone to landslides.
Lately, this part of Afghanistan has gotten some very heavy rains and because of the mud and because of the rain, UNICEF says that many areas are completely cut off, completely inaccessible.
The government says that some villages have been entirely leveled.
Foreign aid groups are on the ground already because even before this earthquake, Afghanistan was in very dire straits. Not only has it had recent natural disasters, floods and drought, it also had an economic crisis that has brought famine to many people.
One UN estimate from March found that 95% of households didn’t have enough food to eat.
The Taliban is pledging to directly pay people who were injured and the families of those killed. But that is a pretty bold pledge from a government that is cash-strapped and unable to feed its own people.