Afghanistan (MNN) — A massive earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale hit three eastern provinces in Afghanistan Tuesday night, injuring hundreds and killing at least 1,000 people. The death toll continues to rise as search and rescue efforts access new territory.
“Because it (the earthquake) happened in the middle of the night, people were in their homes and, unfortunately, many of those homes then collapsed,” The Voice of the Martyrs USA spokesman Todd Nettleton says.
“Some families have completely vanished,” Muhammad Amin Hafiza, the head of information and culture in the hard-hit Paktika province, told CBS News.
The quake is a significant test for Taliban leaders. “The Taliban wanted to be in charge of the whole country. What do they do in a situation like this, where the people are desperate for help and assistance?” Nettleton says.
The terrorists don’t exactly have the best track record regarding servant leadership. “We have seen in the last year the economy of Afghanistan has gone downhill; it is in shambles,” Nettleton says.
“The Taliban are fighters; they’re not governors. They don’t have the training for those kinds of jobs.”
Risking security to respond
Believers risk discovery when they care for earthquake survivors in Christ’s name. “As this aid is delivered, there will be some questions; they will be watched,” Nettleton says.
“A year ago, many Afghan Christians who had been publicly identified had to flee the country simply because it was just too dangerous to stay. Second- and third-generation Afghan believers, who weren’t connected with Westerners [or] publicly identified as Christians, many of them decided to stay.”
The risk doesn’t intimidate Afghan Christians. “We have a team on the ground trying to deliver the necessary assistance,” an Afghan believer we’ll call “Wali” tells VOM USA.
Pray that Christian responders can shine the light of Jesus as they help earthquake survivors. “Please pray that [the team] will be not stopped by any group or armed people [but] will deliver the necessary assistance to the needy families,” Wali requests.
“Pray for the Afghan people [to] quickly recover from this very heavy, severe earthquake.”
Most importantly, “pray for our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan,” Nettleton says.
“They are serving the Lord; they are telling people about Jesus. That is an incredibly risky, incredibly brave thing to do. We need to be sure they are a regular part of our prayer time, not only when there’s an earthquake.”
Header and story images courtesy of The Voice of the Martyrs USA.