UPDATE 1-UN agencies rush relief efforts in Afghanistan as earthquake toll rises

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LONDON, June 24 (Reuters) – United Nations agencies have rushed to send tons of relief supplies to Afghanistan where an earthquake struck a remote mountainous region this week, killing 1,036 people and whose death toll is expected to rise. increase, officials said Friday.

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, has sent shelter and domestic supplies, including 600 tents and 1,200 solar lamps, to help around 4,200 survivors, spokeswoman Shabia Mantoo said during of a press briefing in Geneva.

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UNHCR has deployed staff who will organize shelters for the homeless and set up supply centers to deliver aid from the capital Kabul, she said, adding there was also a serious risk of waterborne diseases.

Several thousand homes were destroyed or damaged by the earthquake, Mohamed Ayoya, UNICEF representative in Afghanistan, said at the same briefing.

“Children and adolescents are extremely vulnerable and at high risk of family separation, emotional and psychological distress, abuse and exploitation, and other forms of violence,” he said.

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The 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck early Wednesday about 160 km (100 miles) southeast of Kabul, in barren mountains dotted with small settlements near the border with Pakistan.

Poor communications and a lack of proper roads are hampering relief efforts in a country already grappling with a humanitarian crisis that has deteriorated since the Taliban took power last August. Authorities have ended the search for survivors. (Reporting by Matthias Williams;)

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