Aid Groups In Afghanistan Struggle With Recovery Efforts After Massive Earthquake Kills More...

International aid groups in Afghanistan are struggling to allocate resources and recovery efforts after the nation was hit with a massive earthquake that has left more than 2,000 people dead and many more injured.

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This past Saturday, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit the western Herat province in Afghanistan, leaving more than 2,000 people dead and many more injured. The province that was hit is the third largest in Afghanistan, and one of the deadliest earthquakes experienced in the nation in years. 

Thamindri de Silva, the national director at World Vision Afghanistan, said that “the situation is worse than we imagined with people in devastated villages still desperately trying to rescue survivors from under the rubble with their bare hands.” He continued to explain that while reinforcements from the capital Kabul had arrived, “there was only one hospital and it was at full stretch with serious cases being transferred to other private facilities in the city.”

“Our colleagues and their families are processing this devastation in their hometowns and yet we are responding with everything we have. People need urgent medical care, water, food, shelter and help to stay safe,” de Silva said.

“[The earthquakes were] yet another devastating episode, after decades of conflict, successive droughts and a collapsed economy,” Mark Calder, World Vision Afghanistan’s advocacy lead, told CNN

“Organizations like ours are able to provide relief and help recovery but without commitment from international governments and donors, more will fall into humanitarian need, displacement will increase and lives will be lost. The world must not look away now.”

United Nations agencies and partners are organizing emergency operations and deploying more aid teams to help with humanitarian efforts and recovery, according to UN spokesperson Secretary-General Stéphane Dujarric.

“We are coordinating with the de facto authorities to swiftly assess needs and provide emergency assistance,” Dujarric said. UN Secretary-General António Guterres spoke on Sunday to give his solidarity, and urged international leaders to “come together and support Afghans impacted by the earthquake – many of whom were already in need before this crisis.” 

The UN’s children’s fund, UNICEF, has allocated 10,000 hygiene kits, 5,000 family kits, 1,500 sets of winter clothes/blankets, 1,000 tarpaulins, and other basic household items, according to reports. Fran Equiza, a representative in Afghanistan, discussed their dedication to the recovery efforts in place.

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“We will make every effort to bring quick relief to those affected.”

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Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesperson for the Taliban, stated that the current number of individuals killed is at 2,053 with more than 1,240 injured, and over 1,300 houses completely or partially destroyed. Afghanistan has also been dealing with their struggling economy and consistent conflict for decades. 

When the Taliban seized power over Afghanistan in 2021, it further isolated the nation from the rest of the world, leading to many international powers cutting their funding for the country. Afghanistan also is known for experiencing earthquakes that are more intense than “regular” more minor earthquakes.

The World Bank stated last week that two thirds of Afghan families are facing “significant challenges in maintaining their livelihoods,” which makes it extremely difficult for them to recover from earthquakes.