“People are extremely needed for food and clean water,” Afghan Health Ministry spokesman Sharafat Zaman said, adding that officials have managed to procure medicines so far, but treating those who have lost their homes would be a challenge.
“We are asking the international community, humanitarian organizations to help us with food and medicine, the survivors could get diseases because they do not have adequate houses and shelters to live in,” he said.
The disaster is a major test for Afghan hardline Taliban rulers, who have been shunned by many foreign governments over human rights concerns since taking control of the country last year.
Helping thousands of Afghans is also a challenge for countries that have imposed sanctions on Afghan government bodies and banks, cutting off direct aid, leading to a humanitarian crisis even before the earthquake.
The United Nations and several other countries have rushed to help the affected areas, and more are yet to arrive in the coming days.
The Afghan Taliban administration has called for the lifting of sanctions and the freezing of billions of dollars in central bank assets hidden in Western financial institutions.
In Kabul, hospitals that are more used to treat war victims have opened their wards for earthquake victims, but most people remain in areas destroyed by the earthquake.
“Our houses have been destroyed, we don’t have a tent … there are a lot of children with us. We have nothing. Our food and clothes … everything is under rubble,” said Hadhrat Ali, 18, in Wor Kali, the village of the hardest hit district of Barmal.
“I lost my brothers, my heart is broken. Now there are only two of us. I loved them very much,” he said.
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