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Afghanistan: Earthquake kills more than 1000 as humanitarian emergency deepens

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A devastating earthquake in Gyan district of Paktika province, Afghanistan, on 22 June has claimed the lives of more than 1000 people and injured many.

Following the deadly quake, the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) has mobilised staff and volunteers from its local branches for immediate response and assessments.

The International Committee of The Red Cross (ICRC) has sent medical supplies to the hospitals in the areas affected by the earthquake (Paktika Provincial Hospital, Urgon District Hospital and Paktia Regional Hospital) to help medical team address the immediate needs, which are likely to increase in the coming hours and days. These hospitals are not supported through Hospital Resilience Project. This is emergency support).

First patients have been arriving and treated at the ICRC-supported hospital in Ghazni. Due to the difficulties related to the movements in the rural earthquake-affected areas, people in need of medical assistance are likely to take hours to days to reach the main healthcare structures in their provinces.

ARCS teams are transferring blankets, tents, kitchen utensils, medicine, water bottles, and food items to the earthquake areas of Khost and Paktika provinces from their warehouses in Kabul. The ICRC stands ready to support the ARCS in its response with emergency cash grants and essential household items, such as blankets and clothing.

Beyond response triggered by earthquake

Despite the overall decrease in fighting in Afghanistan, many areas across Afghanistan remain highly contaminated by explosive remnants of war, such as landmines and unexploded ordonnances. In Paktika Province, some areas are identified as been contaminated. Explosive ordnance contamination in Paktika and Khost may have moved to the surface or migrated from their original location, putting population at further risks.

Millions of people in Afghanistan face the combined effects of loss of income, lack of job opportunities, the consequences of fighting and lack of cash.

Beyond the urgency to respond to the humanitarians needs triggered by the earthquake, States and development agencies are also encouraged to return to Afghanistan and continue their support for projects that are on hold and to the essential infrastructure to respond to the growing needs of the Afghan population and to prevent the situation from further deterioration. Sustainable solutions are urgently needed.