Afghanistan Earthquake: Fast Facts

The 5.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Afghanistan left at least 1,000 people dead and wounded and displaced thousands more. Learn about the devastating earthquake and how you can help survivors through community-led relief efforts.


1. The earthquake was the deadliest in Afghanistan since 2002.

At least 1,000 people are dead and 1,500 others are injured after the 5.9 magnitude earthquake shook Afghanistan on Wednesday. Most of the confirmed deaths were in Afghanistan’s eastern Paktika province, where 255 people were killed and hundreds more were wounded. As more reports come in from remote areas, the death toll is expected to rise.

The moderately strong earthquake was so deadly because it originated just six miles below the Earth’s surface. At shallow depths, there is less material to absorb the quake’s energy before it reaches the surface. The earthquake also struck in the middle of the night when people were asleep in their homes. Many homes in the region were made of masonry, mud, or wood, and they couldn’t withstand the stress of the earthquake.
Source: Reuters + The New York Times

Help Afghanistan earthquake survivors.


2. Afghanistan’s eastern region was hardest hit.

The remote Paktika and Khost provinces near the Pakistani border suffered the most damage from the quake. At least 2,000 homes were destroyed in the region. And on average, every household includes seven or eight people. In leveled communities, survivors dug through the rubble with their bare hands in search of missing relatives.

Heavy rains, landslides, and poor road conditions in hard-to-reach mountainous areas made aid and rescue operations difficult. Communication was also unreliable, with some survivors reporting that mobile phone towers were destroyed.

Hospitals in the area were full, and without ample resources, some sent badly injured patients to Kabul five hours away.

People in the rural Paktika province were already facing poor pasture conditions and declining livestock—the earthquake is compounding these threats to their livelihoods.
Source: Al Jazeera + The Washington Post + BBC

3. Thousands of people have been displaced by the Afghanistan earthquake.

In addition to the rising death toll, thousands of people have been displaced without even a tent for shelter. Recent heavy rain and flooding also killed hundreds of people and destroyed 500 homes.

The hard-hit Khost province was already hosting thousands of internally displaced Afghans, returnees, and refugees from Waziristan.
Source: Al Jazeera + ECHO

Help Afghanistan earthquake survivors.


4. Afghanistan’s economic crisis is complicating relief efforts.

Since the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan last year, the country has faced severe drought and an economic crisis that has pushed more than a million people to flee their homes. As conditions in Afghanistan worsen, an estimated 20 million people—almost half the population—are suffering from acute hunger.

Before the collapse of the Western-backed government, foreign aid previously funded 75% of Afghanistan’s government budget. But since the Taliban’s takeover, many Western countries have cut ties, stopped aid, and frozen Afghanistan’s overseas assets. That has left the Taliban government with even fewer resources to respond to natural disasters like the most recent earthquake.
Source: The New York Times + CNN

5. GlobalGiving partners are already on the ground to help survivors access food, shelter, and other emergency services.

GlobalGiving’s Disaster Response Team is working with responding partners to meet the immediate needs of Afghanistan earthquake survivors and first responders. Once urgent needs are met, the Afghanistan Earthquake Relief Fund will transition to support community-led, long-term recovery efforts as needed. With support from this fund and GlobalGiving’s Afghanistan Emergency Fund, our partners will continue to respond to ongoing humanitarian needs across the country.
Source: GlobalGiving Afghanistan Earthquake Relief Fund

6. Cash is the best way to help people in need during a natural disaster like the Afghanistan earthquake.

Why? Survivors’ needs vary greatly throughout the life cycle of recovery. Some will require financial support, medical care, and psychological assistance years down the road. You can learn more about the importance of cash donations in this infographic.
Source: GlobalGiving + USAID Center for International Disaster Information

Support people in communities hit hardest by the Afghanistan earthquake and fuel community-led recovery.


Featured Photo: Bakhtar News Agency by Associated Press

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