Zakiullah Atal, a religious scholar, was sleeping at the Islamic seminary where he works in Gayan district, Afghanistan’s Paktika province, when he was awakened early Wednesday by the screams of his students.
Miraculously, he says, the earthquake that rocked eastern Afghanistan did not hurt anyone at the religious school. But less than 1,000 meters away, the roofs of her house and the neighboring house of her brother collapsed.
Mr. Zakiullah’s one-year-old son, Osman, was killed, along with his brother and sister-in-law and three of their children.
More than 200 people were killed in Gayan district, he said. In his village, Tery, most houses have collapsed or been damaged, he said.
“Everyone here cried from night to morning,” he said.
Aid began arriving in Gayan on Thursday as Taliban government helicopters dropped sacks of bread and relief items into a crowd of waiting villagers. But the quake has rendered Tery and other villages uninhabitable, Zakiullah said, adding that residents are desperately waiting for the government and aid agencies to deliver tents to families, most of whose income depends on collecting food. pine nuts in the nearby mountainous forests.
As rain fell in the area and houses were flattened, he said: “Some people are living outside.”