New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said India stands by the Afghan people in the wake of the devastating earthquake that claimed more than 1000 lives and injured hundreds of people.
"Deeply saddened at the news of the devastating earthquake in Afghanistan today. My deepest condolences on loss of precious lives. India stands by the people of Afghanistan in their difficult times and is ready to provide all possible disaster relief material at the earliest," PM Modi tweeted. A severe earthquake struck in the early hours of this morning near the city of Khost in the southeastern part of the country. The most affected areas are in Spera District in Khost Province, and Barmala, Ziruk, Naka and Gayan districts in Paktika Province.
India has expressed condolences to all those impacted by the earthquake amid Afghanistan's struggle to cope with a severe economic crisis since the Taliban took over last year.
More than 1,000 people were killed in Afghanistan after a powerful earthquake hit the country on Wednesday. India has expressed commitment to providing assistance and support in this hour of need.
"India expresses sympathy and condolences to the victims and their families, and to all those impacted by the tragic earthquake in Afghanistan. We share the grief of the people of Afghanistan and remain committed to providing assistance and support in this hour of need," said External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the epicentre was 44 kilometres from Khost city, and it measured 6.1 on the Richter scale.
A UN agency said Afghanistan had asked humanitarian agencies to help with rescue efforts, and teams were being dispatched to the quake-hit area.
"The UN and humanitarian country team in Afghanistan expresses deep sympathy to all people affected by this disaster. We will be issuing a flash update later today with further details on the situation and response," the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said in a tweet.
At 01.30 local time on June 22, a massive earthquake struck the Central Region of Afghanistan impacting Paktika and Khost provinces.
The earthquake - which was recorded at a depth of 10 km - was reportedly felt in neighbouring provinces including Kabul, as well as in Islamabad, Pakistan and India.
A devastating earthquake shook the districts of Gayan, Barmala, Naka and Ziruk in Paktika Province, as well as Spira district in Khost Province in Afghanistan.
"We don't yet know the full extent of the devastation, but we believe hundreds of people have been killed, including many women and children. Many more have been injured and many homes damaged or destroyed. These numbers are expected to grow as reports continue to come in," UNICEF said in a statement. The UN agencies have said that immediate needs identified include emergency trauma care, emergency shelter and non-food items and food assistance.
Families of those whose homes have been damaged or destroyed are being hosted by their relatives and other members of their communities, although some are reportedly living in the open. Given the unseasonable, heavy rains and cold, emergency shelter is an immediate priority.