| Feb 5, 2024
Resilience Amidst Destruction: Action for Development's Response to the Herat Earthquake
The Situation in Herat: The Earthquake Damage at a Glance
The province of Herat in western Afghanistan was struck by a series of devastating earthquakes between October 7 and October 15, 2023. These seismic events have profoundly impacted over 275,000 individuals residing in 382 villages, mainly Herat, Injil, Kushk, Zindajan, Gulran, Guzara, Ghoryan, Karukh, and Koshan. Tragically, the earthquakes claimed the lives of 1,482 people and left 2,100 individuals injured. The toll on infrastructure was equally severe, with 10,002 homes completely destroyed and over 220,000 severely damaged. Consequently, more than 47,000 families were forced into temporary, makeshift tents, where they now battle the elements as they attempt to rebuild their lives.
Further straining the already fragile health infrastructure in the region, 40 health facilities were affected by the disaster. Of particular concern is the vulnerability of women and children in need of critical healthcare services. As winter intensifies, survivors grapple with inadequate shelter and limited access to essential resources, including clean water and food, further exacerbating these communities' suffering.
Humanitarian Support from Action for Development
In the wake of this disaster, Action for Development (AfD) swiftly initiated humanitarian efforts to alleviate suffering. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes, during Phase 1 (October 2023), AfD distributed cash and food packages to over 500 families, providing vital support and sustenance to approximately 3,500 individuals. In Phase 2 (November 2023), AfD conducted an exhaustive survey identifying the most vulnerable families. This data informed the distribution of winter kits to over 60 families, providing more than 240 individuals with blankets, warm clothing, and toys for children, offering comfort and protection during the harsh winter months.
AfD's response was characterized by efficient coordination with local authorities, community leaders, and dedicated volunteers. Distribution centers were strategically located to reach areas not covered by other aid efforts. Community engagement, transparency, and accountability remained central to the operation.
AfD's impact in Herat has been significant, improving living conditions and thus enhancing the resilience of over 60 families. The comfort and hope provided through AfD's work will not stop there. AfD received 20 water filters in partnership with LifeStraw, which will be installed in Herat to provide people with clean drinking water.
While AfD's efforts have made a meaningful impact, the situation in Herat remains challenging. Urgent priorities, identified by UNOCHA and the National Health Cluster, include continued food assistance, specialized nutrition for children, provision and continuity of essential health services, medicines and medical supplies, disease surveillance, and addressing water and sanitation needs. With the help of continued donations, AfD remains committed to addressing these ongoing challenges through upcoming initiatives, including the distribution of water filters, the implementation of mobile clinic services, and continued support for affected families. Finally, we acknowledge the pivotal role of international and national partners in achieving these goals and express our gratitude for their unwavering commitment to improving the situation for Herat's earthquake-affected communities.