Calgarians are doing what they can to help victims of the devastating earthquake in Afghanistan, but some say their efforts are limited by ongoing sanctions against the Taliban.
The powerful earthquake struck eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday.
It was Afghanistan’s deadliest earthquake in decades, killing more than 1,000 people and injuring many more. He also flattened stone and mud-brick houses.
At least 1,000 people killed in powerful earthquake that rocks Afghanistan
Roya Saddat came to Calgary from Afghanistan 11 years ago. She spoke with her parents, who still live in Afghanistan, the day of the earthquake.
“They were really scared, especially my little sister who stayed with my mum and dad. She was really, really terrified because of this earthquake,” Saddat said.
“They wanted to get out of the house to the streets to be safe so their house wouldn’t collapse on top of them.”
She worries about how the survivors will cope.
“It’s really difficult these days because there are no jobs, there are no jobs and the banks don’t give people money. You can’t even send money from abroad,” Saddat said.
“People just think, what to do. There are no jobs, no food, no aid.
About 1,600 refugees from Afghanistan have come to Calgary since the Taliban took over. Hundreds of people are still staying in hotels.
“It happened in the eastern and southern regions, which are very rural, so I’m sure the support they need won’t be there. So people have to deal with it themselves in 90% of the cases. said Fariborz Birjandian, CEO of the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society and National Co-Chair of the Afghanistan Resettlement Operation.
Staff from the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society are now offering support to refugees whose family members died in the earthquake.
Afghanistan earthquake: Villagers search for survivors with at least 1,000 dead
“The impact on people here has obviously added to the stress. We have people from the earthquake area here in Calgary who have lost four family members. It adds to the stress and issues they have and makes our lives a bit more complex to make sure they get fresh air, exercise and recreation and pump them up with positive energy,” said said Birjandian.
The humanitarian disaster comes at a difficult time for the Taliban-ruled country, which faces hunger and an economic crisis.
The takeover last year led to a cut in vital international funding and most of the world shunned the Afghan government.
Malik Selemankhel of the Afghan Canadian Association of Calgary said sanctions against the Taliban government make it virtually impossible to send money.
“We are in a very difficult position and I’m sorry to say there’s really nothing we can do. It’s just too many roadblocks,” Selemankhel said.
“We tried to send money to the Red Crescent Society and it didn’t work. The banks blocked it, so it’s very worrying.
He said the Afghan Red Crescent Society is on the ground helping the victims and humanitarian aid has arrived from Pakistan and Iran.
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