Kabul, Afghanistan, October 9, 2023 — The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is deeply saddened by the devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck west of Herat on October 7. With hundreds of people confirmed to have lost their lives so far, the IRC has deployed emergency response teams to the area to provide immediate humanitarian assistance.
The earthquake caused significant damage to villages and infrastructure, including bridges in the affected region. The IRC is closely monitoring the situation and is actively coordinating its response with multiple other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to assess the extent of the damage and provide assistance to those in need. The IRC's emergency response teams are mobilising to provide immediate assistance, including medical care, to the affected population. Our teams are working tirelessly to ensure that the most vulnerable individuals and communities receive the support they need during this difficult time.
Salma Ben Aissa, IRC Afghanistan Director, said,
"Our hearts go out to the people of Herat who have been affected by this devastating earthquake. The IRC urges the international community to stand in solidarity with the people of Herat and support the ongoing relief efforts.
“We are committed to working alongside our partners and local authorities to provide immediate assistance and support to those affected. In times like these, unity and collaboration are crucial, and we are grateful for the coordination efforts with other NGOs to ensure a swift and effective response.
“Even before this earthquake, with recent floods and instability within the country, over 29 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance. The earthquake has further exacerbated the situation of already vulnerable communities and the upcoming harsh winter conditions spell disaster for the welfare of those that have become displaced, especially for women and children who are most at risk of exploitation and abuse in their displacement."
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) began work in Afghanistan in 1988, and now works with thousands of villages across twelve provinces. As Afghanistan struggles to recover from ongoing conflict and natural disasters, the IRC works with local communities to identify, plan and manage their own development projects, provides safe learning spaces in rural areas, community-based education, basic health services to remote and hard to access communities, cash distribution provides uprooted families with tents, clean water, sanitation and other basic necessities, and helps people find livelihood opportunities as well as extensive resilience programming.