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Earthquake in Afghanistan

A deadly earthquake has struck outside Herat, Afghanistan, on Saturday, killing over 2,000 people and destroying homes.

Written by Tarryn Pegna | 09 Oct 2023

Buildings in the Herat region.

An image of a property in the affected region taken by Tearfund staff before the Afghanistan quake. Credit: Tearfund

Afghanistan is a nation struggling with an economic crisis and high levels of poverty. A recent UN publication stated: ‘With 24.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and more than nine in ten living in poverty, the country is in the midst of a crisis on an unprecedented scale.’ Against this backdrop, thousands of people in Afghanistan have been killed, injured or left homeless by a large earthquake which struck on Saturday morning.

Where did the Afghanistan quake hit?

This most recent disaster hit about 20 miles north-west of the city of Herat, with a magnitude of 6.3 as reported by the US Geological Survey (USGS).

The initial quake was followed by three strong aftershocks with magnitudes of 6.3, 5.9 and 5.5, which were also felt in the neighbouring Badghis and Farah provinces.

The impact of the quake

Janan Sayeeq, spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Disasters, is quoted by Reuters as saying that the toll had risen to over 2,400, with the number of injured being ‘more than 2,000’. Sayeeq also said that 1,320 houses had been either damaged or destroyed by the quake.

Images shared online and in the press showed buildings reduced to rubble with people standing in the streets, having fled for safety. Survivors used their hands to desperately dig through rubble in search of people trapped under the debris, hoping to find loved ones alive.

‘Survivors used their hands to dig through rubble, hoping desperately to find loved ones alive.’

Rescue teams and hospitals in Afghanistan

A World Health Organisation (WHO) report on Sunday highlighted the challenges of providing medical assistance to survivors in the region, pointing out that most healthcare facilities are smaller basic health centres and that accessing remote areas was particularly difficult as decades of war have taken their toll on infrastructure.

Humanitarian needs after the earthquake

People have lost loved ones, homes and livelihoods. Many are in need of urgent medical care, water, food and shelter and blankets and clothes to keep warm as temperatures have already begun to drop at night.

Tearfund’s response to the earthquake in Afghanistan

Tearfund supports work through local partners working in this area of the country (and in one of the areas worst impacted). We are thankful that our partner staff and their families are all confirmed safe. Our local partners are already working closely with the local authorities and have sent out an ambulance to support local communities. They have also made their health centres available for immediate healthcare needs and they have opened the doors of their office as a place to sleep for people who cannot return to their homes.

Tearfund immediately committed initial funding to the local partner to enable them to begin their response, but the needs are expected to be great and additional support will be required.

Please consider donating to support the life-saving efforts of the Tearfund team and our partners at this time in Afghanistan.

Pray for Afghanistan

    • Please pray for all those in Afghanistan who have been impacted by the earthquake on Saturday. Ask God for provision of resources.
    • Please pray for rescue workers and for our local partners as they respond to urgent needs and work to further assess the scale of impact. Ask God to keep them safe and to encourage them and give them strength and wisdom.
    • Please pray for all those who have lost loved ones and are grieving. 

Written by

Written by  Tarryn Pegna

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