Pakistan, Afghanistan areas reeling from quake damage

At least 385 people have died as a result of the quake, with the most severely affected areas in remote locations.


While the 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck on Afghanistan’s side of the border with Pakistan, the Pakistani death toll days later is almost double its neighbour’s.

Most of those people killed are from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in north-western Pakistan.

Thousands of homes have been destroyed there, as well as more than a hundred schools.

Villager Sultan Khan says his two grandsons were killed after the walls of their school fell on them.


“When the earthquake started, the walls of the madrasah fell on my grandsons. We were looking for them and found them under the rubble. Then we took them to hospital, but they did not survive.”


The quake was so strong it also rattled northern India and Tajikistan, but those countries have escaped with minimal damage.

Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif has visited his country’s north-western city of Peshawar to attend a briefing on the scale of the damage across the region.

On local television, he has promised his government will provide what he calls “maximum compensation” to the victims.

It would range between 1,500 and 3,000 dollars Australian.


“For houses which are totally damaged, 200,000 rupees will be given to each person to rebuild their homes. And houses which are partially damaged, 100,000 rupees will be given to them.”


But villagers say they believe more needs to be done.


Aqalmand Khan, from Pakistan’s Swat Valley says his family has received barely any support.


“We have received only one tent for the whole family. Is it possible that people from a family in a three-room house can live in one tent? See how my three-room house is badly damaged? We can’t live in this house.”


Charity wings of Pakistan’s political parties have set up donation centres to collect funds and relief material.


In Afghanistan, aid agencies have started to support some of the people who need it most.


The Afghan Red Crescent’s Nangyalai Yousofzai says the most severely affected areas are very remote and communication has proven difficult.


“This big earthquake has affected Jalalabad city and most of Nangarhar province. It has destroyed hundreds of houses in Bahsoud district. Now we are distributing tents, blankets and kitchen items for the affected people.”


The Chinese government says it will provide further emergency aid for Afghanistan and Pakistan if need be.


Meanwhile, Pope Francis has honoured those killed by the quake during his weekly audience at the Vatican.


“Let’s pray for the dead and for their relatives, for the wounded and for those who have lost their homes, imploring from God relief from suffering and courage in adversity. May our brothers not be left without our complete solidarity.”