International Rescue Committee (IRC) teams have reported a major earthquake measuring 6.4 in Afghanistan, with tremors felt in neighbouring countries, including Pakistan. Staff and programmes are safe and unharmed but large parts of both countries have been affected by tremors, and it is likely that aftershocks will occur in the coming days and weeks.

This is the latest in a string of significant earthquakes that have struck Afghanistan in the last three months, with at least 3 consecutive earthquakes causing major destruction. The IRC is profoundly fearful for what today’s earthquake means for the population and the humanitarian response in Afghanistan, which is already stretched and dealing with the consequences of decades of conflict, climate change and economic crisis.

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. 

The IRC began operations in Pakistan in 1980 in response to the growing number of Afghan refugees. We currently have over 1,500 staff and volunteers,  and our teams delivered food, shelter, safety, primary healthcare, education, vocational training, water supply systems, sanitation facilities, and other essential services to the Afghan refugees and host communities.