Photo credit: CWSA staff on the ground
Just days after two major earthquakes hit western Afghanistan claiming the lives of over 2,000 people, the same region experienced yet another seismic event, recorded at a magnitude of 6.3. This occurred at approximately 05:10 local time (00:40 GMT) on Wednesday, epi-centered at 28kms (17 miles) to the north of Herat city.
Over a hundred individuals have sustained injuries after today’s earthquake, requiring hospitalization, as reported by health officials. Exact information regarding total casualties is currently unavailable, according to Janan Sayeeq, Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) spokesperson, although provincial authorities have reported numerous houses completely and partially damaged. The full extent of the impact is yet unknown, however many more families have been forced to shift out in the open with other earthquake affected communities after their homes have been either totally destroyed or deemed unsafe to stay in preceding last Saturday.
Humanitarian organisations have highlighted shortages in essential supplies such as temporary shelters, blankets and food. Relief and rescue operations following Saturday’s earthquakes have been impeded by the region’s deteriorated infrastructure, which has been further exacerbated by decades of conflict, as well as the recent decline in foreign aid. Afghanistan’s healthcare system, which heavily relied on foreign assistance, has suffered severe funding cuts, being unable to meet the increasing health and medical needs of crisis and disaster affected families in the country.
Community World Service Asia’s Response
Community World Service Asia (CWSA), with the support of its regional and global partners, has launched an immediate humanitarian response to support affected communities in Herat Province. Under its Quality & Accountability in Humanitarian Action initiative, CWSA is organising a one-day session on Sphere Standards in Emergency Response for seventy responders and humanitarian practitioners from local NGOs and ANDMA on Thursday, October 12th. Additionally, a link to the Sphere Handbook in Darri (local language spoken in Herat and surrounding areas) has been shared with networks and organisations working on the ground. A hundred Sphere Handbooks are being distributed to ANDMA and local NGOs to ensure quality and accountability standards are mainstreamed in the immediate and long-term humanitarian response to the earthquakes in Afghanistan.
CWSA’s emergency teams have been deployed to Ghurian District of Herat Province to assess and visit affected communities. We have already mobilised 500 winterised tents for affected communities and the first batch of the tents are on the way to Ghurian at the moment. The team is currently identifying families to receive the winterised tents with local leaders, ANDMA and OCHA.
Our teams are in close coordination and continuous communication with relevant stakeholders, including UN-agencies, local authorities, and community members to ensure consistent coordination and an effective response avoiding an overlap and duplication of humanitarian response in the area.
CWSA’s key areas for immediate emergency response are:
» Emergency shelter: 1000 winterised tents → Budget: US $ 420,000
» Multi-Purpose Cash Assistance (MPCA) for 3 months for 1000 affected households → Budget: US $ 1,590,000
» Winterisation Kits: 1000 kits for a thousand affected families → Budget: US $ 420,000
» Quality & Accountability Resources & Training → US $ 35,000
Deputy Regional Director
Programs & Organisational Development
Head of Communication