Repeated shocks have driven children and families in Afghanistan to despair
On 7 October 2023, a series of earthquakes shook western Afghanistan, with the largest at 6.3 magnitude. In the week that followed, multiple aftershocks reaching magnitude 5 to 6 also took place. Many houses have collapsed and some remote villages have even been wholly destroyed. As of now, over 3,000 have been killed or injured in the earthquakes. As hospitals in Herat are overwhelmed, the number of casualties is expected to continue to rise.
World Vision has been working for over 20 years in Afghanistan. In fact, the epicentre of the 6.3 magnitude earthquake is less than 40km away from our head office. Prior to the earthquake, our mobile health teams have been supporting the areas most affected by the earthquakes. Unfortunately, we understand that there were children in our programmes among those who have been killed and injured.
Watch and find out how our staff members are providing psychosocial support to the affected people amidst the threat of aftershocks:
In the aftermath, World Vision has mobilised mobile health units and distributed non-food items as part of a rapid multi-sector, multi-agency response. As of 15 October 2023, our interventions have reached 9,111 people, including providing them with wound treatment, maternal services, nutrition support and psychosocial counselling services, as well as emergency supplies such as blankets, hygiene kits and cooking tools.
We are also conducting further assessments in the affected areas. In the coming weeks, we will be focusing on food, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), psychosocial support and child protection interventions, among other forms of support.
Prior to the earthquakes, Afghanistan has been experiencing a prolonged drought and food crisis, as well as a struggling economy after decades of conflict and governance challenges, causing over 29.2 million Afghans to be in need of humanitarian assistance.
Thamindri de Silva, National Director of World Vision Afghanistan, says, “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. 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. Please stand with us as we respond.”
After a series of earthquakes and aftershocks, houses across many villages have collapsed, causing great casualties.
Children try to search among rubble, hoping to recover some valuable items from their destroyed houses.
Villagers gather to attempt to rescue people trapped under the ruins.
For many years, World Vision has been working in the areas most affected by the earthquakes this time. After the quakes, our staff immediately set out to the villages to provide assistance.
World Vision's mobile health teams are providing wound treatment, nutrition support and psychosocial counselling services for the affected people.