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UNHCR launches urgent funding appeal to support earthquake survivors in Afghanistan

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UNHCR launches urgent funding appeal to support earthquake survivors in Afghanistan

13 October 2023
Afghanistan. Herat earthquake photos.

Tents have been erected to house residents whose houses were destroyed during an earthquake that struck Seya Aab village in Herat Province, western Afghanistan, on 7 October.

GENEVA – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is today launching an urgent appeal for $14.4 million to scale up its assistance for those affected by the tragic recent earthquakes in western Afghanistan.

Tens of thousands of people in the province of Herat have been affected, requiring immediate assistance. The tremors, in quick succession, have left more than one thousand dead and thousands of others injured. Sadly, these estimated figures are likely to increase as the full scale of the disaster becomes apparent. 

As people mourn their loved ones, many are forced to sleep under the open skies after the complete destruction of their mud houses in the affected zones. Humanitarian assistance is needed to help them and to avoid further tragedy.

Immediate needs include emergency shelters, heaters, kitchen sets, clean water, food and warm clothing ahead of the cold winter months. Women and children are among those hardest hit. Refugee Housing Units (RHUs) will be provided to overcrowded hospitals to accommodate survivors of the earthquakes who are currently receiving casualty treatment and sleeping outdoors.

With over 35 years’ presence in Afghanistan, UNHCR is working closely with national and international partners to support those affected as part of an inter-agency humanitarian response.

UNHCR teams have been on the ground since day one and are scaling up the response, delivering tents, blankets, and other relief items including solar lamps and hygiene kits to those who have been displaced and lost everything. We are working to ensure that people with special needs are identified and receive the required support, including those with disabilities, older people and child- and female-headed households.

UNHCR's plans to deliver psychosocial and cash support are underway to help people, including refugee and IDP returnees affected by the earthquake. Orphaned, separated or unaccompanied children require special attention. UNHCR will provide legal assistance and counselling, including through supporting the recovery and processing of civil documentation (“tazkira”) so that households, including recently arrived refugee and internally displaced returnees, can access their rights.

UNHCR calls on the international community to urgently support people affected by the earthquake, stressing the importance of acting now to provide much-needed help ahead of the upcoming, harsh winter months. 

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