Shocked quake survivors wander through ruined Afghan villages

The disaster poses a huge logistical challenge for Afghanistan’s new Taliban government, which has isolated itself from much of the world by introducing hardline Islamist rule that subjugates women and girls.

International aid agencies trying to help are also stretched thin.

Remote Ghurza is one of many small mountain villages in Bermal district, one of the wost-affected areas.

Aid is beginning to trickle into the valley – a military helicopter seen flying overhead dropped food to hard-to-reach places and collected some injured to deliver them to hospital – but an AFP team saw no United Nations presence on Thursday.

“HELPLESS”

After the horror of the first hours, villagers have already dried their tears – misfortune is well known in this area, one of the poorest in a country ravaged by humanitarian crises, neglect and decades of war.

On Wednesday the villagers buried about 60 people, and 30 more followed on Thursday.

“We didn’t even have a shovel to dig with, no equipment, so we used a tractor,” says Ghurziwal.

In the middle of a courtyard, his octogenarian mother, slightly injured, is lying on a bed, sheltered from the sun by a sheet.