Women move food from a distribution site on the outskirts of Herat, Afghanistan in 2021. Credit: WFP/Marco Di Lauro
- Early estimates in the Afghan provinces of Khost and Paktika indicate that the earthquake took lives of over a thousand people, with the death toll likely to rise. Many more have been injured, lost their homes and everything they owned.
We still do not have the full picture of humanitarian needs among people displaced by the earthquake, but the Taliban authorities have already launched their own response and called for urgent humanitarian assistance, granting humanitarian agencies full access to the affected areas and conducting search and rescue.
Our teams are on the ground conducting a rapid needs assessment in the Spera district of Khost province. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) will support the affected communities with cash and provide emergency shelter. We will also shortly send another team to Paktika to assess the situation there.
Environmental disasters such as earthquakes and droughts are regular occurrences in Afghanistan, remaining one of the key drivers of displacement. Cascading impacts of climate change and a deepening economic crisis make it more difficult to achieve durable, long-term solutions for displaced Afghans, despite a significant decrease in fighting since August 2021.â
Facts and figures:
Neil Turner is Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Afghanistan.
At the press briefing on June 22, UN deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was saddened to hear of the tragic loss of life caused by the earthquake which struck Afghanistan near the city of Khost. Hundreds of people have reportedly been killed and injured, and this tragic toll might continue to rise. The Secretary-General said that his heart goes out to the people of Afghanistan who are already reeling from the impact of years of conflict, economic hardship and hunger. He conveyed his deep condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to the injured.
âThe Secretary-General said that the UN in Afghanistan is fully mobilized and that our teams are already on the ground assessing the needs and providing initial support. He added that we count on the international community to help support the hundreds of families hit by this latest disaster. Now is the time for solidarity, the Secretary-General stressed. On the humanitarian side, our colleagues tell us that numbers are expected to rise as search and rescue operations continue.â
IPS UN Bureau