GAYAN, Afghanistan (AP) — The death toll from a devastating earthquake in Afghanistan continued to climb days after it turned brick and stone homes into rubble, killing 1,150 people and wounding scores more, according to the latest figures carried in state media on Friday.
The country of 38 million people was already in the midst of a spiraling economic crisis that had plunged millions deep into poverty with over a million children at risk of severe malnutrition.
The magnitude 6 quake on Wednesday struck in the night as people were sleeping, leaving thousands who survived without shelter. State media reported that close to 3,000 homes were destroyed or badly damaged.
Aid organizations like the local Red Crescent and World Food Program have stepped in to assist the most vulnerable families with food and other emergency needs like tents and sleeping mats in Paktika province, the epicenter of the earthquake, and neighboring Khost province.
Still, residents appeared to be largely on their own to deal with the aftermath as their new Taliban-led government and the international aid community struggle to bring in help. Villagers have been burying their dead and digging through the rubble by hand in search of survivors.
The Taliban director of the state-run Bakhtar News Agency said Friday the death toll had risen to 1,150 people from previous reports of 1,000 killed. Abdul Wahid Rayan said at least 1,600 people were injured.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has put the death toll at 770 people.
It’s not clear how death toll counts are being reached, given the difficulties of accessing and communicating with the impacted villages. Either grim toll would make the quake Afghanistan’s deadliest in two decades.
In the district of Gayan, at…