Afghan rescue workers braved heavy rain to search for survivors in the rubble of the earthquake on the 23rd.

The day before, a powerful earthquake struck eastern Afghanistan.

According to Afghan Dawn News Network, the death toll from the earthquake has reached 1,100 and more than 1,600 injured.

It was the deadliest earthquake in Afghanistan in 20 years.

  The top leader of the Afghan Taliban has publicly called on the international community to provide aid to the Afghan victims.

  Dig the ruins with bare hands

  In Paktika province, where the epicenter is located, local press officer Amin Huzaifa told reporters that "people are digging pits (to bury the victims) one by one", and at least 1,000 people were killed in Paktika province alone. More than 1,500 people were injured, many in critical condition, and many were still "trapped in the rubble".

  Ramiz Arakbarov, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Afghanistan, said nearly 2,000 homes may have been destroyed, with an average of seven or eight people per household.

  In a hospital in Saran, the capital of Paktika province, Arup Khan, a 22-year-old injured victim, said: "The situation was terrible. There were crying everywhere. Several children in my family were buried in the mud."

  "We all slept at home... The roof suddenly collapsed." Another injured man, Gul Faraz, told Reuters that he, his wife and children were being treated in the hospital and some relatives were killed.

"Where we live, all the houses have collapsed ... the whole area has been destroyed."

  "Our country is poor and lacks resources. This is a humanitarian crisis," hospital director Mohammad Yahya Weal told AFP.

  Video released by Afghanistan's Bakhtar news agency showed residents digging through the rubble with their bare hands in a remote mountainous area near the border with Pakistan, looking for survivors or the remains of the victims.

Afghan officials said it was difficult to grasp the disaster situation in those mountain villages immediately, and the death toll could rise further.

  Some disaster-stricken areas experienced heavy rain and floods just before the earthquake, which triggered landslides and mudslides, hindering rescue efforts.

The Associated Press reported that the road leading to the remote mountain village is rugged and usually difficult to walk, and may be completely impassable after the earthquake.

Even if the Afghan government can dispatch heavy machinery to participate in the rescue, it is not clear whether it can successfully enter the disaster area.

  Leaders call for help

  According to the Associated Press, after the earthquake, the top leader of the Taliban, Haibatullah Akhundzada, made a rare voice, imploring international organizations to provide assistance to help the Afghan people who suffered this great tragedy.

  The acting Prime Minister of Afghanistan's Interim Government, Mohammad Hassan Akhund, presided over an emergency meeting on the 22nd, requesting the relevant departments to rush to the scene immediately and use all resources to save lives and assist the victims.

The Ministry of Defense led the rescue effort.

  Many international aid groups withdrew from Afghanistan after the Taliban took power last August.

The United States and other countries have sanctioned the Afghan banking industry, hindering the flow of international aid funds into Afghanistan.

Right now, Afghanistan has a limited number of planes and helicopters available for disaster relief.

  U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said that the U.S. side will have another dialogue with the Taliban in a few days, and is expected to discuss the issue of humanitarian assistance after the earthquake. However, the Taliban has not made a request to the U.S. side in this regard.

  The European Union's special envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas Niclason, tweeted that the European Union is preparing to provide emergency assistance to affected people and communities.

Neighboring Pakistan said it would provide Afghanistan with necessities such as food, tents and blankets.

  The Associated Press reported that more than 60 percent of Afghanistan's 38 million people depend on international aid for their livelihoods.

UN officials predict that the earthquake will exacerbate the economic and humanitarian crisis facing Afghanistan and increase the need for aid.

  Why is the disaster serious

  According to the China Seismological Network, the magnitude of the earthquake was 6.2, with a focal depth of about 30 kilometers.

The U.S. Geological Survey determined the magnitude of the earthquake to be 5.9. The epicenter was located more than 40 kilometers southwest of Khost, a city in eastern Afghanistan, with a focal depth of about 10 kilometers.

The Euro-Mediterranean Seismological Centre measured the magnitude of the quake at 6.1.

  According to the Associated Press, landslides often occur in the earthquake site, and many of the houses are old and mostly adobe houses with poor seismic performance, so there are heavy casualties.

  Due to its location at the junction of the Eurasian plate and the Indian plate, earthquakes are frequent in Afghanistan and the border area with Pakistan.

In 2015, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck the Hindu Kush region in northeastern Afghanistan, bordering Pakistan, with a focal depth of 210 kilometers. The earthquake killed more than 380 people in both countries.

On March 25, 2002, a magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck northern Afghanistan, killing at least 1,800 people and injuring more than 2,000.

In May 1998, at least 4,500 people were killed when a magnitude 6.1 earthquake occurred in northeastern Afghanistan along with several aftershocks.

  Dawn News quoted the Afghan Ministry of Disaster Management as reported that before the earthquake on the 22nd, continuous heavy rainfall caused floods in the capital Kabul, Panjshir Province, Khost Province, Nangarhar Province and other places, killing at least 400 people and also killing at least 400 people. It is very difficult to carry out rescue work after the earthquake.