Residents appeared to be  largely on their own to deal with the aftermath as their new Taliban-led  government and the international aid community struggled to bring in  help.

Villagers rushed to bury the dead Thursday and dug by hand through the  rubble of their homes in search of survivors of a powerful earthquake in  eastern Afghanistan that state media reported killed 1,000 people.

Residents appeared to be largely on their own to deal with the aftermath  as their new Taliban-led government and the international aid community  struggled to bring in help.

Under a leaden sky in Paktika province, the epicenter of Wednesday’s  earthquake where hundreds of homes have been destroyed, men dug several  long trenches on a mountainside overlooking their village.

In villages across Gayan district, toured by Associated Press  journalists for hours Thursday, families who had spent the previous  rainy night out in the open lifted pieces of timber of collapsed roofs  and pulled away stones by hand, looking for missing loved ones.

Taliban fighters circulated in vehicles in the area, but only a few were seen helping dig through rubble.

There was little sign of heavy equipment — only one bulldozer was  spotted being transported. Ambulances circulated, but little other help  to the living was evident.

Many international aid agencies withdrew from Afghanistan when the Taliban seized power nearly 10 months ago.

Those that remain are scrambling to get medical supplies, food and tents  to the remote quake-struck area, using shoddy mountain roads made worse  by damage and rains.

“We ask from the Islamic Emirate and the whole country to come forward  and help us,” said a survivor who gave his name as Hakimullah. “We are  with nothing and have nothing, not even a tent to live in.”

The scenes underscored how the magnitude 6 quake has struck a country  that was already nearly on its knees from multiple humanitarian crises.

The quake took the lives of 1,000 people, according to the state-run  Bakhtar News Agency, which also reported an estimated 1,500 more were  injured.

In the first independent count, the United Nations Office for the  Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said around 770 people had been  killed in Paktika and neighboring Khost province.

It’s not clear how the totals were arrived at, given the difficulties of  accessing and communicating with the affected villages.

. Either grim toll would make the quake Afghanistan’s deadliest in two  decades, and officials continued to warn the number could still rise.

Since the Taliban took over in August amid the U.S and NATO withdrawal,  the world pulled back financing and development aid that had been  keeping the country afloat.

The economy collapsed, leaving millions unable to afford food; many  medical facilities shut down, making treatment harder to find.

Nearly half the population of 38 million faces crisis levels of food insecurity.

Many aid and development agencies also left after the Taliban seizure of  power. The U.N. and remaining agencies said they were moving blankets,  food, tents, and medical teams to the area.