Disasters & Accidents

Lack of coordination hampers relief efforts for earthquake victims in Afghanistan

Herat, Afghanistan, Oct 12 (EFE).- The lack of coordination between the Taliban government and humanitarian organizations has complicated the emergency response and distribution of aid to the victims of the recent devastating earthquake in western Afghanistan, which killed over 2,000 people.

A powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck western Herat on Saturday, affecting over 11,000 people in four districts of the province, with survivors still searching for their relatives beneath the rubble.

The Taliban’s ministry of disaster management, responsible for coordinating emergency response, has struggled to effectively organize relief efforts among numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in the affected areas, according to the sources on the ground.

NGOs at the scene have raised concerns about the concentration of assistance in a single location, while multiple villages across devastated districts are in dire need of aid.

“Emergency aid has arrived here, but it requires better coordination,” a humanitarian worker at one of the camps for the earthquake survivors told EFE.

“Different organizations should cover diverse needs of the people. Receiving the same assistance simultaneously from different organizations is not helpful.”

The international sanctions on the Taliban government, isolated since their rise to power in 2021, have also hindered the arrival of aid and rescue teams from other nations, further complicating the relief operation following the earthquake.

Survivors from the affected areas told EFE that they have spent days without any assistance, and in some cases, the government has provided only “shovels and spades” for the rescue efforts.

The earthquake, which occurred in one of the country’s most impoverished regions, has exacerbated the already dire living conditions for thousands of people in a country facing one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with the impending harsh winter further intensifying the suffering.

“The emergency situation should not last long. There is an urgent need for long-term shelter, water sources, livelihood, toilets and other facilities for people to survive” a UN agency aid worker told EFE on the condition of anonymity.

The earthquake and its subsequent aftershocks, some of which were significant, have caused extensive destruction in approximately 20 villages across Zindajan, Gulran, Kohsan, and Kushk Rabat districts of the province.

This was the third deadliest earthquake in Afghanistan since 1998 and the worst natural disaster since the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul in August 2021.

Initial estimates by authorities suggested over 2,400 deaths and around 2,000 people being injured, but these numbers may rise as efforts to locate more victims

continue. EFE

lk-igr/bks/ia

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