The Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS), together with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has mobilized to urgently support communities affected by a deadly 6.1 magnitude earthquake.
The deadly earthquake struck early this morning in the south-East region of Afghanistan.
The most affected provinces are Khost and Paktika. Based on initial reports, hundreds of people have been killed, with the number of casualties expected to increase – as some people remain trapped in rubble due to collapsed houses – and responders reach the hardest-hit villages.
Necephor Mghendi, IFRC’s Head of Delegation for Afghanistan, said:
“Red Cross Red Crescent staff and volunteers have been deployed from local branches for immediate response and assessments. Trucks with relief items as well as ambulances have been dispatched to the affected areas.
“In addition to the assessment teams from Afghan Red Crescent, other Movement partners are on their way to the affected areas.”
“We are gravely concerned for our personnel or their families because it is likely that some would have been affected.”
Telecommunications have been disrupted and more information from the field will emerge when reports from the ground start to flow. This is a harsh reminder that investing in local institutions with strong local presence to deliver vital services in cities and remote areas is the surest and quickest to an effective response.
Afghan Red Crescent has a branch in each of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, including Khost and Paktika. It also has more than 30,000 volunteers who are from local communities.
Food and non-food supplies that were already available for the ongoing Red Cross Red Crescent response to multiple humanitarian crises in the country will now be redirected to areas hardest-hit by the quake to address immediate needs.
The IFRC supports mobile health teams in Paktika and nearby provinces of Kabul, Kapisa, Logar, Parwan and Wardak. The three mobile health teams in Paktika have been redirected to address immediate needs resulting from the earthquake. Teams from nearby provinces will be deployed when needed and additional medical supplies are being mobilized from Kabul.
Today’s quake is yet another horrific tragedy for the people of Afghanistan and compound what was already a devastating humanitarian situation.
It struck in a grim backdrop where more than 50% of Afghans, men, women and children, are in desperate need of humanitarian intervention because of a combination of catastrophic crises. The country is reeling from effects of decades of conflict, protracted severe drought, the effects of other intense climate-related disasters, extreme economic hardship, a battered health system, and system-wide gaps. Hence, even though the disaster is localized, the scale of humanitarian needs will be massive.
Increased global support to deliver humanitarian longer-term assistance and recovery is of high priority.
The IFRC has released CHF 750,000 from its Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the immediate response of ARCS.
Video interview with Mohammad Nabi Burhan, Secretary General of the Afghan Red Crescent Society.
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IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world.