China ready to provide relief supplies to Afghanistan after earthquake; Afghan Chargé d’affaires thanks China for sincere sympathy
Published: Jun 22, 2022 09:39 PM
Afghans look at destruction caused by an earthquake in the province of Paktika, eastern Afghanistan on June 22, 2022. The earthquake has killed at least 1,000 people and injuring 1,500. Photo: VCG
Afghans look at destruction caused by an earthquake in the province of Paktika, eastern Afghanistan on June 22, 2022.  Photo: VCG

China is in close contact with relevant parties on the heavy causalities and property losses in the powerful earthquake in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistani border, and is willing to provide emergency relief assistance according to the needs of the Afghan people, a spokesperson for the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) said on Wednesday.

The earthquake in Afghanistan has killed at least 1,100 people and injured 1,650, according to media reports.

Chen Song, deputy director-general of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, met with Afghan Embassy Chargé d'affaires in Beijing Sayed Mohiuddin Sadat on Wednesday.

China has always been concerned about the difficulties faced by the Afghan people. Since August 2021, China has provided a large amount of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan to help the people tide over the most difficult times. 

The Afghan official thanked China for its immediate, sincere sympathy over the casualties caused by the earthquake in Afghanistan, and thanked China for its long-term support to the Afghan people. 

He said China has always been Afghanistan's trustworthy and reliable friend. Afghanistan is willing to work with China to strengthen communication, overcome the impact of the disaster and the pandemic, and increase pragmatic cooperation between the two sides in all fields.

China stands ready to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan in light of its needs, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Wednesday. 

Wang made the remarks at a press briefing Wednesday, during which he also revealed that the preliminary verification by the Chinese Embassy in Afghanistan shows there are no Chinese casualties so far. 

"We mourn the victims of the earthquake in Afghanistan and extend condolences to the bereaved families and the injured," Wang said. "Afghanistan is a friendly neighbor of China. We stand ready to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan in light of its needs."

China always stands by Afghanistan and will provide assistance to Afghan people, Chinese Ambassador to Afghanistan Wang Yu wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. 

The earthquake was reportedly the deadliest to strike Afghanistan in two decades.

The powerful earthquake struck a rural, mountainous region in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistani border early Wednesday morning local time, media reported, with the tolls expected to rise as rescuers try to reach the site of the disaster in remote Paktika and Khost provinces. 

China Earthquake Networks Center said that the 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck Afghanistan at a depth of 30 kilometers with its epicenter located southwest to the Afghanistan province of Khost near Paktika province, near the Pakistani border. Strong and long jolts were also felt in the capital Kabul 200 kilometers away. 

The quake was felt in multiple cities including Islamabad and Rawalpindi in Pakistan, according to Pakistani media reports.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the magnitude of the earthquake was 5.9, revising an initial estimate of 6.1. 

According to Afghanistan's state-run Bakhtar news agency, helicopters and rescuers arrived in Paktika.

The United Nations mission in Afghanistan is fully mobilized and their teams are already on the ground assessing the needs and providing initial support, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on Wednesday. The World Health Organization (WHO) and several nongovernmental organizations are deploying mobile health teams, medicines and medical equipment.

According to the director of the police station in Giani district, Paktika, many people died while sleeping when the earthquake struck early Wednesday morning. Local officials said they were searching for survivors from collapsed houses.