Our teams are assessing needs on the ground in Herat, Afghanistan. Photo credit: NRC Herat Team/NRC

Devastating earthquake is another shock for Afghanistan

Published 11. Oct 2023
On 7 October, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake shook Herat province in western Afghanistan. After multiple aftershocks and a second earthquake of the same magnitude early on 11 October, the UN and the authorities are reporting between 1,000 and 3,000 deaths. These numbers are expected to rise in the next hours and days.

In the village at the epicentre of the first earthquake, every single building has been flattened. Across the province, many families are sleeping out in the streets. Several hundred are reported missing, according to the UN. 

Those affected by the disaster are still searching for relatives amidst the rubble and are seeking out assistance from aid agencies and authorities. According to the latest UN OCHA report, an estimated 17 000 people have been affected by the earthquake across five districts in Herat province.  

Yet another shock for an already fragile Afghanistan

The humanitarian aid system in Afghanistan is already desperately overstretched and underfunded, with over 29 million Afghans already in need of humanitarian assistance. The country’s food rations from the World Food Programme have also recently been reduced substantially due to funding cuts, leaving millions of families without enough to eat.

As winter approaches, there are concerns about how affected communities are going to survive. The road to recovery for Afghans will be long and difficult.

We are on the ground ready to respond

On the ground, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) emergency teams are coordinating between affected communities, Afghan authorities and other NGOs to help those impacted as quickly as possible.

Our response will be split between addressing immediate needs such as emergency shelter, blankets and site coordination, and more long-term planning to support affected communities to recover post emergency.

NRC has been present in Afghanistan since 2003, working in 14 provinces to assist people affected by displacement from conflict and disasters.