Aid groups struggling to help Afghan quake survivors

Humanitarian agencies are struggling to get help to areas devastated by Wednesday's earthquake in Afghanistan.

At least 1,000 people were killed and survivors living in remote villages are running out of essential supplies.

The 5.9 magnitude quake struck in the early morning hours, collapsing homes while many residents were asleep. Officials in the provinces of Khost and Paktika estimate that more than 1,600 people were injured.

Peter Kessler is the Senior Communications Officer for Afghanistan with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. He told NHK that aid agencies are facing a difficult operation.
Kessler said many of the impacted areas are in mountainous terrain, and have been heavily affected by two decades of war in Afghanistan.

He said the agency is receiving warnings of unexploded ordnance and other hazards in the region. "So our teams have been wanting to be careful," he added.

Kessler said he's aware of efforts to rush supplies, like tents and blankets, to provide shelter for earthquake survivors who have lost their homes.

"The amount of people in need will have increased, we still don't have an idea of the scale of the impact of this disaster. But clearly, it's important that the needs are addressed," he told NHK.

The disaster comes as Afghans continue to face challenges, after the Taliban took over their country last year. Many were already dealing with food shortages. The UNHCR has called on the international community to come together to support them.