U.S. to provide nearly $55 mln more humanitarian aid for Afghanistan -Blinken

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Afghan people collect water from a water handpump after the recent earthquake in Wor Kali village in the Barmal district of Paktika province, Afghanistan, June 25, 2022. REUTERS/Ali Khara

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WASHINGTON, June 28 (Reuters) - The United States will provide nearly $55 million in immediate aid for Afghanistan in response to an earthquake that last week struck a remote southeastern region, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Tuesday.

At least 1,000 people died, more than 3,000 others were injured and 10,000 homes destroyed by the 6.1 magnitude earthquake that struck the area near the country's border with Pakistan on June 22.

The new U.S. assistance will be used to supply relief to people impacted by the disaster in the form of cooking ware, jerry cans for water, blankets, clothing and other items, including hygienic supplies to prevent a waterborne disease outbreak, Blinken said in a statement.

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The earthquake, he said, "intensified the ongoing humanitarian crisis the Afghan people have endured for too long."

The new aid brings to more than $774 million the amount of U.S. humanitarian assistance provided for Afghanistan since last year, when the Taliban seized power as the last U.S.-led troops withdrew after 20 years of war with the hardline Islamists.

The pullout and cutoffs by the United States and other funders of direct assistance on which the impoverished nation depended worsened financial and humanitarian crises that have seen the economy collapse and millions endure food shortages.

Since the earthquake, aftershocks have hit the stricken region, leaving partially damaged homes uninhabitable and the area unsafe for survivors, according to a senior Afghan official. read more

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Reporting by Jonathan Landay and Paul Grant; Editing by Chris Gallagher

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