Gayan, Afghanistan – When a magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck eastern Afghanistan last week, Naqib lost his home and nearly his whole family. His parents and four siblings now lie buried on a hilltop overlooking the remote district of Gayan in hard-hit Paktika province. The 11-year-old now only has one sister, Nesab, who is four.The little girl is glued to his side, quietly listening as her brother recalls the June 22 disaster.
“I was buried under the rubble with Nesab. We were screaming. My uncle came and helped us out of the destroyed house. It was dark, but I saw that nobody else in my family was screaming. They were all dead.”
In the morning, Naqib watched as relatives washed the bodies of the dead before burying them. It happened in a blur, and his eyes fill with tears at the memory. His sister is confused, he admitted, one moment asking when her parents will wake up, the next declaring them dead.
A total of 35 people have died in the children’s extended family; 45 were injured, some of them severely.
Naqib’s story is all too common. More than 1,000 people have been killed and 2,000 injured in what has been recorded as Afghanistan’s worst earthquake in 20 years. According to the country’s Ministry of Public Health, 35 entire villages have been destroyed or damaged. In Gayan …