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Survivors battle to rebuild their lives three months after Afghanistan’s devastating earthquake

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ZINDA JAN, Afghanistan — A 6.3 magnitude quake on Oct. 7 killed and injured hundreds of individuals in Afghanistan’s west. Three months on, survivors are struggling to rebuild their lives.

Some households live in canvas-colored tents in Zinda Jan district, the quake’s epicenter within the province of Herat, the place each house was flattened.

Individuals endure the winter circumstances with the assistance of donations and their Islamic religion, however they’re anxious about what lies forward.

Habib Rahman, 43, was watching TV at his father-in-law’s house when the quake struck. The horror nonetheless rings in his ears. He can’t get it out of his head.

Nevertheless many particulars he gave about that day would by no means be sufficient, he advised The Related Press.

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Each squat mud constructing in Zinda Jan collapsed inside minutes. Concern, shouting, panic and shock swept via villages. Individuals used their arms to drag the residing and the {dead} from below the rubble.

“If we take a look at this soil and mud, we are going to transcend loopy,” Habib mentioned. “The kids are psychologically affected. Typically I play with them to distract them from being anxious and (assist them) neglect concerning the earthquake. However they don’t neglect.”

The winds and storms constantly knock down and tear the tents of Zinda Jan, the folks’s solely refuge from the bitter chilly. “Give us your coronary heart (heat), discover shelter for us,” he implored. “The climate is chilly. It is extremely chilly.”

Youngsters nonetheless do not have entry to a mosque or college, he mentioned. He wonders what is going to occur to them, their future. He needs life to return to the way it was earlier than the quake, when villagers had their very own means and sources.

Earlier than the quake, 55-year-old Mula Dad Mohammadi had a home with six rooms, a kitchen, and area for crops, livestock and timber. Now, he shelters beneath tarpaulin and sheets together with his spouse and youngsters. He’s grateful for the reduction efforts however needs measures for longer-term restoration.

“Our farming and agriculture have been destroyed,” he mentioned. “Our property and lives have been destroyed. What they gave us was for a brief interval — two sacks of rice and two sacks of wheat. Allow us to do our personal farming.”

The worldwide response to the catastrophe was sluggish, with a lot of the worldwide group cautious of dealing immediately with the Taliban-controlled authorities.

The world was additionally centered on the shock assault by the militant Palestinian group Hamas on Israel on Oct. 7 that triggered the continuing struggle, solely hours earlier than the quake hit Herat.

The Taliban, NGOs, the U.N. the nation’s non-public sector and the Afghan public rallied round quake-hit communities to assist with money help, food, clothes, medication, and reconstruction.

Pale blue domes resembling beehives — inbuilt Zinda Jan with donations from the Afghan diaspora, together with artists and singers — may now be seen dotting the skyline. They’re sturdier than the homes usually seen in a lot of Afghanistan and are supposed to be extra earthquake-resistant.

It is the primary time that this sort of housing, often known as tremendous adobe, has been seen within the nation. Mission supervisor Shakib Shahabi, from a neighborhood nongovernmental group, known as the Company for Humanitarian and Improvement Help for Afghanistan, mentioned 37 properties have been inbuilt 32 days.

“Now we have classes realized from the implementation of this mission and we’re prepared to share our experiences with organizations,” he mentioned.

Nisar Ahmad Ilias, a spokesman for the Herat governor, mentioned 3,000 homes are being labored on in Zinda Jan. Some are 90% completed and others are 20% accomplished. Survivors nonetheless need assistance due to the size of the catastrophe. He urged Afghans — and the remainder of the world — to step up their response.

“Pure disasters occur in different international locations as effectively,” mentioned Ilias. “The worldwide group, which has helped in these locations, has not executed it right here. It’s essential for them to take extra steps and stand with Afghans.”

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