| Oct 25, 2023
Afghanistan Earthquake Appeal
Community Resilience in Afghanistan
Hundreds of miles under the tempestuous waters of the Pacific ocean lies the Alpide belt, consisting of the Indian plate and the Eurasian plate. These tectonic plates are constantly shifting and compressing, making the area highly susceptible to natural disasters. It is upon this actively seismic belt that Afghanistan sits.
Devastatingly, this tectonic placement means that Afghanistan is incredibly prone to earthquakes. In the last year, the country has experienced over 200 minor earthquakes, and since 1950, there have been more than 13,500 deaths and countless thousands others having been made homeless as a result of these catastrophes in Afghanistan.
Most recently, on Saturday 7th October, a deadly 6.3 magnitude earthquake - and at least seven aftershocks - struck west of Herat city in Afghanistan. In the following week, another series of earthquakes of this destructive magnitude struck the same area.
At least 1,380 people have lost their lives, with this staggering death toll expected to rise further amid search and rescue efforts. Over 43,000 people have been directly affected and at least 3,330 homes have been destroyed, with entire villages being flattened. In a distressing update, the UN have estimated that of those who have lost their lives in the quakes, 90% are women & children.
In response, our teams at Afghanaid immediately began coordinating with UNOCHA and our local partners in the earthquake-affected districts to mobilise a swift and effective emergency response. Our teams on the ground have been speaking and working with affected communities, and conducting rigorous assessments to ensure we fully cater to the needs of the most remote, vulnerable communities at this critical time.
Part of Afghanaid’s emergency reaction is the distribution of cash assistance. This is a vital way in which we can provide the flexibility that is so deeply required when supporting communities in the aftermath of an earthquake. The effects of these natural disasters vary hugely from household to household so it is imperative that the humanitarian responses are fluid. This fluidity which underlines our response, enables each family to prioritise the support that is most beneficial to themand play an active role in shaping their own futures.
Our emergency support is evermore vital with the onset of the bitter winter. Millions of rural families will now be cut off from markets, hospitals and other vital services, and, unlike the summer months, will be unable to grow any crops to feed themselves. The previous January saw the coldest winter in 15 years as Afghan women, men and children experienced temperatures plummeting as low as -33 degrees with up to 30 cm of snowfall.
Already home to 3.5 million internally displaced Afghans according to the UN, and thousands more following the series of earthquakes, a second winter this brutal will have incredibly damaging consequences for so many who must choose between warmth and food.
But neither of these are easy to come by. Nearly 8.6 million children live in homes that do not have enough blankets to go around, and an estimated 3.2 million children under the age of 5 will suffer from acute malnutrition before the end of 2023.
These already struggling families who have been hit by the earthquakes will therefore need continued support to access their basic necessities. This means as well as emergency food, cash and shelter, they also need items like warm coats, boots, gloves, blankets and heating equipment to survive the freezing temperatures, and help to rebuild their lives come Spring.
Please continue to support the people of Afghanistan. Through donating to our earthquake appeal, you will help us distribute emergency cash to Herat province’s most vulnerable women and men, who can then buy the necessities they need, keep roofs over their heads and ensure they can start to rebuild for their families.
Help us deliver this response