Over 1,000 lives lost as disaster again strikes Afghanistan

A village in a remote region of Afghanistan

A magnitude 6.1 earthquake has devastated Afghanistan and Pakistan, causing over 1,000 deaths and a further 1,600 injuries.

This earthquake has proved to be the deadliest in two decades, further devastating a population already struggling with a devastating food crisis from the combined impacts of long-term drought and hunger, COVID-19 and decades of political instability.

This latest tragedy is truly heartbreaking for a populace that has already gone through so much.

Aloysius Canete, Caritas Australia’s Humanitarian Emergencies Lead

Late last year the United Nations anticipated that 97 per cent of the population in Afghanistan would be pushed into extreme poverty by June 2022. This happened even faster than anticipated, as food and fuel prices skyrocketed globally due to the war in Ukraine.  

“Our partners on the ground report that crops are wilting, and that millions of families are now running out of options if they can no longer afford to buy basic goods since prices have increased exponentially. With this earthquake, we know that at least 1,800 households have been destroyed and many more damaged, which leaves many vulnerable families reliant on humanitarian aid to survive.” 

Humanitarian organisations including Cordaid, a member of the international Caritas network, are responding to the earthquake in the affected province of Paktika, conducting needs assessments on the ground and providing emergency including medicine, temporary shelter and emergency food distributions. 

"For a country that is already facing such extreme levels of poverty and hunger, rebuilding and recovery from this latest crisis are going to present unusual challenges – it will be exceptionally hard to house and feed families impacted by this earthquake in a country where millions are already displaced and suffering hunger.” 

Caritas Australia continues to work with partner on the ground, CRS, to provide long-term emergency support to people in drought-affected rural communities including:

Emergency cash assistance

Food security support

Education for children

Caritas Australia is currently raising funds to support communities in Afghanistan. 

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The funds raised through this appeal will be used to provide immediate and longer-term humanitarian assistance to communities affected by crises in countries like Afghanistan. If any funds remain after a crisis, or if there are changes in circumstances beyond our control which limit our ability to use the funds, they are kept in the Asia Emergency Appeal so that we can respond to ongoing needs and future crises in the region.