Wednesday morning, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake killed over 1,000 people and injured thousands more in southeastern Afghanistan. The epicentre was about 27 miles from the provincial capital city of Khost.

The worst damage occurred in remote and mountainous regions near the border with Pakistan. The number of killed and injured is likely to rise, as the area has unreliable telecommunications and means of reporting casualties.

Nehemiah with FMI estimates the death toll could reach 10,000 people. “Because there are no emergency rescue operation teams available in Afghanistan. People are living very, very remotely in the villages. There is no access or paved roads. I have been to some areas where you cannot find any hospital for about 10 hours.”

In one area, 17 people of the same family died because their house collapsed. A local official said 25 villages were completely destroyed, including mosques and schools.

FMI partners

The disaster touched FMI partners in the region as well. Nehemiah says. “We have lost three men from the same family who were away for work purposes. They were believers, and they were part of our underground church in Afghanistan. Please pray for their families. Please pray for the situation.”

For the past 15 years, FMI has served the underground church in this portion of Afghanistan. They maintain four safehouses for believers. It’s a difficult place to live between disaster, poverty, and extremist violence. But Nehemiah often hears amazing Gospel stories from this region as well.

Pray rescuers will be able to reach those in need with medical treatment and food.