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Afghanistan earthquake: Aid agencies appeal for help

October 9, 2023

Humanitarian groups call on the international community to pledge support following Afghanistan's deadly earthquake.

A boy sits on the ground among his family's remaining belongings
Afghanistan was already in the midst of a humanitarian crisis and the latest earthquake will only add to an already difficult situationImage: Muhammad Balabuluki/Middle East Images/AFP/Getty Images

There have been appeals for the the global community to help Afghanistan following Saturday's deadly 6.3 magnitude earthquake which the Taliban government said killed more than 2,000 people in the west of the country.

Aid group CARE USA — a member of CARE International umbrella  — said in a statement that the country was already in the grip of a humanitarian crisis when the latest earthquake struck and was desperately underfunded.

"The current Humanitarian Response Plan that aims to support 23.7 million people in the country is only 33.9% funded, while needs are increasing rapidly," the organization said in a statement.

"The fast-approaching winter, combined with this new disaster, is likely to exacerbate the existing challenges," the organization stressed.

Afghanistan reels after powerful earthquake

OCHA frees up $5 million

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that humanitarian partners "are ramping up response efforts" while search and rescue efforts continued.

The agency said that $5 million (€4.74 million) had been approved in emergency funds and would be allocated and said further allocations "will be dependent upon additional donor resources being received, for which related advocacy and outreach is ongoing."

Pakistan, Iran and China are among the countries that have pledged to send in food, blankets, medicines, tents and funds.

According to an OCHA statement, 1,023 people were reported to have been killed and another 1,663 people injured across eleven villages In Herat province.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Taliban officials were visiting Afghanistan's western province of Herat which was most affected by the quake.

The Taliban said in a statement that the deputy prime minister for economic affairs, Abdul Ghani Baradar, and his team would visit the quake-affected region to deliver "immediate relief assistance" and ensure "equitable and accurate distribution of aid."

Hundreds of people are still believed to be trapped beneath the rubble of collapsed homes, and authorities were waiting for an update on the latest casualty figures.

Another 4.9 magnitude earthquake reported

At the same time, another 4.9 magnitude earthquake rattled western Afghanistan on Monday, with the latest tremors confirmed by the US Geological Survey and residents in the area.

"It was quite intense," a doctor in the area told the German press agency, DPA. "People took shelter in parks, open spaces, and gardens."

According to the health worker, the deadly earthquake on Saturday has negatively affected people's mental health. "Most of the patients are those who have mental shocks," he added.

In June last year, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people in the province of Paktika.

The Taliban's seizure of power in August 2021 worsened the country's humanitarian emergency.

Afghans gather on the remains of the ruined houses to excavate belongings and bodies
Local rescue workers have been searching through destroyed villages, hoping to find any signs of lifeImage: Muhammad Balabuluki/Middle East Images/AFP/Getty Images

kb/ab (AP, dpa)