A pair of earthquakes – 4.9 and 5.3 in magnitude – struck in Afghanistan’s northwest province of Badghis on Monday, and tremors continued to be reported in the following days. Initial reports indicate the quakes killed at least 26 persons, injured hundreds and caused destruction to hundreds of homes in the province’s Qadis district as well as damage to water sources. Many dwellings in the area are made of mud bricks, and had been rendered even more vulnerable to damage from recent heavy rains in the area.
Most people displaced by the quakes have found shelter with relatives and neighbours or in makeshift tents, yet some continue to spend most of the days outdoors due to their fears for new tremors, even as daytime temperatures barely rise above freezing, with frigid nighttime temperatures.
UNHCR and partners have visited several villages in Qadis district this week to assess the situation – there is an urgent need for shelter assistance and core relief item. UNHCR is rushing to assist the worst affected 1,000 families (around 7,000 people), whose homes have been completely destroyed or seriously damaged, and is sending family tents, plastic tarpaulins, blankets and household items (kits of core relief items) for distribution to those in need.