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Heartbreak and shock in Afghan earthquake hospital – International News News – Report by AFR

Bibi Hawa’s face is covered in tears as she tries to make sense of her predicament from a hospital bed in Sharan, the capital of Afghanistan’s Paktika province.

At least a dozen members of her family were among more than 1,000 people killed in a devastating earthquake that struck the region early Wednesday, and she fears she has been left all alone.

“Where will I go, where will I go?” the 55-year-old keeps asking.

When a nurse tries to calm her down, speaking gently and stroking her forehead, Bibi sighs, “My heart is weak.”

The 5.9-magnitude tremor hit the rugged and impoverished east hardest, where people were already living a hand-to-mouth existence that had gotten worse since the Taliban takeover in August.

The catastrophe poses a major challenge for the uncompromising Islamists, who have largely isolated the country through their uncompromising policies.

The United Nations said in an initial estimate that over 2,000 homes were destroyed in the region, where the average family often has as many as 20 members.

In the room where Bibi is being treated, a dozen other women are lying on beds — many asleep, some buried under blankets, others hooked up to vital fluids.

Shahmira is unharmed, but her one-year-old grandson is lying on her lap, a large bandage covering his temple.

On the bed next door, her daughter-in-law sleeps off her injuries while a son is treated in another ward.

“We were sleeping when we heard a loud noise,” she tells AFP about the quake.

“I screamed…I thought my family was buried under the rubble and I was the only one alive.

– scream everywhere –

At an adjacent ward, a dozen men are also recovering on beds.

A father is holding his son on his lap, the boy is wearing mustard-colored pants with little black hearts, one leg is in a cast.

Next to it lies another child under a blue blanket. His left arm is also in a cast, while a white bandage has the word “Emergency” written on his forehead in black marker.

“It was a terrible situation,” recalls Arup Khan, 22, of the moments after the earthquake.

“There were screams everywhere. The children and my family were under the mud.”

Mohammad Yahya Wiar, director of Sharan Hospital, says they did their best to treat everyone.

When the injured arrived, “they cried and so did we,” he told AFP.

“Our country is poor and has no resources. This is a humanitarian crisis. It’s like a tsunami.”

But the locals are rallying to help. A hundred men are waiting patiently in front of the hospital.

“They came to donate blood, there have been about 300 since this morning,” explains a Taliban fighter.

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