Just before lunchtime on October 7, 2023, a devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake with continuous aftershocks struck Herat province in western Afghanistan, flattening thousands of homes as well as schools and other infrastructure, with over 2000 reported killed and over 12,000 people impacted. These numbers are expected to rise as some remote areas have not yet been reached by first responders.
Because of the timing of the earthquake, many women and children were in their homes preparing lunch for the families, which led to 2/3 of the affected people being women and children.
ACT members immediately began to respond to the needs in the communities affected, contacting local partners, beginning to do needs assessment and to move relief supplies into the area, including winterized tents, hygiene kits, and other needed items.
ACT members also immediately engaged in the complicated coordination with local and national authorities, the UN and other NGOs needed to ensure that aid reaches the communities and families where it is most needed as quickly and effectively as possible. ACT members are planning to provide emergency assistance as soon as possible before the harsh winter hits western Afghanistan.
ACT members are planning response over the coming year and a half, including the provision of emergency shelter like the winterized tents, blankets, clothes and kitchen supplies, WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene), providing hygiene and dignity kits, building latrines and bathing places, providing water purification systems, multi-purpose cash assistance, and protection for people who are more vulnerable now that they have lost their homes.
In the longer term, ACT members plan to rebuild homes, to provide solar systems to health centres, build community kitchens, and provide lanterns to households impacted by the earthquake and its aftershocks.
For more information about ACT’s response, or to contribute, please contact Waqas Muhammad, Humanitarian Program Officer Asia-Pacific at email@example.com.