On 22 June 2022, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit the southeast region of Afghanistan. The epicentre was in the province of Paktika. Khost province is also impacted by the earthquake that was felt throughout Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan. The earthquake occurred at 1.30 AM local time. As of 8:00 PM (local time) on 22 June, local authorities estimated that at least 1,000 people had lost their lives due to the earthquake and the numbers are expected to rise as search and rescue efforts continue. Around 2,000 homes are estimated to be destroyed with thousands of people injured. Current estimates are that about 500,000 are exposed with over 60,000 households affected (200,000 people). Of these, 40 per cent are children. Continuous rain in the affected provinces hampers the search and rescue efforts and heightens the risks of secondary disaster such as mudslide, landslide and flooding.
This situation builds up on the current humanitarian crises that is faced by Afghanistan where more than 50 per cent of Afghanistan’s population is in dire need of humanitarian assistance due a combination of crises: the effects of decades of conflict, a protracted and severe drought, the effects of other intense climate-related disasters, extreme economic hardship exacerbated by sanction-related impacts and unemployment, a weak health system which was already stretched by COVID-19 and most recently, by the re-emergence of vaccine preventable diseases, and system-wide gaps affecting the health, water, education, energy, and public service sectors. The country is facing one of the world’s worst food insecurity and malnutrition crises, with around 20 million people in crisis or experiencing emergency levels of food insecurity, and more than half of all children under-five projected to face acute malnutrition. With the combination of the severe drought – which has affected the entire country’s territory, and the impact to the agriculture and livestock sectors, which account for the bulk of economic activity, in such dire condition - compounded by the economic hardship, hundreds of thousands of households have been forced to adopt negative coping mechanisms as many are stuck in a quagmire of debt while prices of essential commodities continue to rise beyond reach. The economic situation is, in addition, driving millions of people into poverty.
Restrictions on protection, constraints relating to the participation of women and minority groups, and displacement inside and across borders are adding to the situation. Furthermore, there has been significant disruption of basic service structures over the past year, partly exacerbated by reluctance of some development funders to channel support via the new authorities. Additionally, a somewhat parallel structure, in which local authorities and actors are not the main drivers, has emerged with the potential of undermining sustainability of investments being made and hindering localization gains.