At least 2,400 people were killed and 9,000 more were injured after a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Western Afghanistan on Saturday. The quake hit Zindajan, a rural district some 40km (25 miles) from Herat city, where nearly 2,000 homes have been completely destroyed across 20 villages. Eight aftershocks also hit the country, severely impacting vulnerable communities with poorly constructed homes. Health care facilities are also overwhelmed and under equipped by the number of people needing treatment.
Since the Taliban’s takeover in summer 2021, many international aid organizations have greatly reduced their operations in the country, making the population even more vulnerable to natural disasters. Only a handful of countries have publicly offered support in the aftermath of the disaster, including China and Pakistan, because many countries refuse to deal directly with the Taliban.
“There’s not much disaster management capacity and what there is can’t cover people on the ground,” Salma Ben Aissa, the director for the International Rescue Committee’s Afghanistan mission, told the Associated Press over the weekend. “The numbers (of dead) are increasing hour by hour.”
In addition to aid being cut after the Taliban takeover, financial issues plaguing the World Food Program led the organization cutting food distributions for the country last month, and many international aid resources have been diverted to the recent escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Aid agencies like the International Rescue Committee have warned that if the Taliban lacks proper rescue equipment to deal with such a significant natural disaster, it could lead to more deaths.
Here are some ways you can help.
International Committee of the Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross is providing health care, re-establishing health care infrastructure, and working on improving sanitation and energy supply together with the Afghan Red Crescent and other on the ground humanitarian partner organizations. To learn more, you can visit their website here.
UNICEF is the United Nations agency responsible for providing humanitarian relief to children around the globe. They are currently distributing emergency water and hygiene kits in the country to address the urgent needs of children impacted by the earthquake. To donate, you can click here.
Islamic Relief Worldwide
Islamic Relief Worldwide launched an urgent appeal to provide lifesaving humanitarian aid to victims of the earthquake in Afghanistan. The organization has been working in Afghanistan for more than 23 years, and is coordinating closely with the United Nations and other on the ground organizations to figure out how to best help survivors. You can read more about Islamic Relief and their work in Afghanistan here.
International Rescue Committee
The International Rescue Committee has deployed a team of emergency personnel to provide medical care and other essential services to those impacted by the earthquake. The organization has had a presence in Afghanistan since 1988 and works with thousands of villages across the country’s twelve provinces. To learn more, you can visit their website here.
Doctors Without Borders
Doctors Without Borders is currently providing support at Herat regional hospital and manages the hospital’s pediatric section. They have also sent additional supplies to other parts of the country. To donate, click here.
CARE is one of the leading humanitarian organizations operating in Afghanistan right now and focuses on alleviating poverty and providing medical care. You can donate here.