Afghanistan reels from earthquake that killed more than 1,000

The magnitude 5.9 quake struck during the early hours of Wednesday near the city of Khost by the Pakistan border. At least 1,500 people have been reported injured — but officials warn the toll is likely to rise as many families were sleeping in flimsy housing structures when the quake hit.Medics and emergency staff from around the country are converging on the site, with assistance from some international agencies such as the World Health Organization.However, help may be limited as many organizations pulled out of the aid-dependent country after the Taliban seized power last August.The Taliban government has deployed emergency resources, including several helicopters and dozens of ambulances, and has offered compensation to victims’ families. It has also called for foreign aid, pleading for “the generous support of all countries, international organizations, individuals and foundations” on Wednesday.Limited international aidThe quake has compounded the problems already plaguing Afghanistan. Though the economic crisis has loomed for years, the result of conflict and drought, it plunged to new depths after the Taliban takeover, which prompted the United States and its allies to freeze about $7 billion of the country’s foreign reserves and cut off international funding.The move has crippled the Afghan economy and sent many of its 20 million people into a severe hunger crisis. Millions of Afghans are out of work, government employees haven’t been paid, and the price of food has soared, with reports of some families so desperate to eat they have An estimated $15 million of aid is needed to respond to the disaster, Alakbarov said — a figure that will likely keep rising as information trickles in about the situation on the ground.”Our teams do not have specific equipment to take people from under the rubble,” Alakbarov said. “This has to rely mostly on the efforts of the de facto authorities, which also have certain limitations in that respect … I don’t have the detailed reports of how well positioned they are to operate and deploy such machinery to these mountainous areas.”Information including damage assessments is limited for now, with telecommunications disrupted in remote areas and poor weather conditions hampering transportation, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).”The country is reeling from the effects of decades of conflict, protracted severe drought, the effects of other intense climate-related disasters, extreme economic hardship, a battered health system, and system-wide gaps,” said the IFRC on Wednesday, calling for more global support. “Hence, even though the disaster is localized, the scale of humanitarian needs will be massive.”