The United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, has announced $12 million in humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people affected by a series of devastating earthquakes.
Throughout the month of October, four 6.3 magnitude earthquakes struck Afghanistan’s northwestern region. The earthquakes — and the aftershocks that followed — resulted in at least 1,482 deaths and injury to approximately 2,100 individuals as of October 19, according to the UN World Health Organization. UN officials reported that over 90 percent of the causalities from the earthquakes were women and children.
In addition to the causalities, the earthquakes have destroyed thousands of homes, even completely razing entire villages in some places.
This disaster is making an already dire humanitarian situation in Afghanistan much worse. The Taliban took over the country in August 2021 and severely restricted the rights of women, including barring Afghan women from working with NGOs and UN agencies. Since then, political and economic instability has left more than two-thirds of Afghans in need of assistance.
In addition to the $12 million announcement, USAID partners conducted damage assessments and provided emergency humanitarian assistance in the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes.
Part of USAID’s funding will go to the International Organization for Migration, or IOM, who have been actively engaged in providing emergency shelter kits, cooking materials, blankets, solar lamps and clothing to people affected by the earthquakes.
Another major concern is clean water. Many households in the region were already facing waterborne illnesses before the earthquakes hit. USAID assistance will help IOM provide safe drinking water and support water source rehabilitation to prevent further disease outbreaks in Afghanistan.
The United States is the single largest humanitarian donor in Afghanistan. Nearly $2 billion has been provided since August 2021, with over $1.46 billion coming from USAID. USAID’s Disaster Assistance Response Team will continue to ensure aid is reaching the most vulnerable individuals, including women and girls. The United States will continue to stand with the Afghan people and respond to humanitarian needs.