Editor's note: The situation in Afghanistan is actively evolving, as are the needs of citizens in the country. We will be keeping this list up to date with the evolving ways Global Citizens can help in the coming days and weeks.
A series of earthquakes that hit western Afghanistan have left many thousands of people injured, displaced, and without shelter. The death toll from the earthquakes is reported to be between 1,000 and 3,000, with dozens of villages having been destroyed.
The series of quakes began with a 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck on Saturday, Oct. 7, around 25 miles west of Herat city in the Herat province, which was followed by several strong aftershocks that reportedly shook the area for more than five hours. More earthquakes, of magnitude 4.7, 4.9, and 5.9, reportedly hit western Afghanistan on Monday, Oct. 9.
Another 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Herat province on Wednesday, Oct. 11, while, on Sunday Oct. 15, two further powerful earthquakes shook the province.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on the international community to “come together and support Afghans impacted by the earthquake — many of whom were already in need before this crisis.”
As a government spokesperson said following the Oct. 7 quakes: “The survivors have nothing in the area. They need food, clothes, tents, and medicine. The earthquake hit very remote and poor areas. Many of them are refugees who recently arrived back from Iran and Pakistan. We definitely need international help.”
The earthquakes come on the heels of a series of events that had already left Afghanistan facing one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
The Taliban government takeover in 2021, for example, led to a widespread withdrawal of international aid, with many aid groups and NGOs pulling out of the country and aid programs halted. Following the takeover, women and girls in the country have faced a severe crackdown on their human rights.
In June 2022, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake claimed more than 1,000 lives in Paktika and Khost provinces; while a years-long drought in Herat province, the third largest in Afghanistan and home to more than 3 million people, has caused further devastation in its agriculture-dependent communities.
“Many families not only have lost their homes but also their main breadwinners,” said Herat’s governor, Noor Ahmad Islamjar, in an interview with state TV on Sunday. “They are in urgent need of immediate aid and suitable shelters.”
Here are a few ways you can help the response effort in the wake of the earthquakes. At this time, these are largely financial given the urgent need to fund the relief effort.
Donate to Global Relief Agencies
Islamic Relief is on the ground responding to the quakes. Its Herat-based health team is in the areas affected by the earthquake to provide primary health care assistance and assess needs. Teams will be providing health services, as well as distributing tents, non-food items, and cash vouchers to those most affected.
2. Muslim Aid
Muslim Aid has been in Afghanistan providing support for civilians for over 20 years, and is on the ground supporting the emergency response effort.
UNICEF, the UN’s children’s fund, has reportedly dispatched 10,000 hygiene kits, 5,000 family kits, 1,500 sets of winter clothes and blankets, 1,000 tarpaulins, and basic household items to the ongoing humanitarian efforts.
Global Citizen partner Global Giving is a platform that collects funds and distributes them directly to on-the-ground organizations. They vet local agencies to ensure they are impactful and efficient in providing survivors with shelter, fuel, food, drinking water, and health care.
All donations to Global Giving’s Afghanistan Earthquake Relief Fund will support earthquake relief and recovery efforts, including food, clean water, medicine, and other essential supplies to those in need. Once immediate needs are met, the fund will transition to support long-term recovery efforts led by local organizations in Afghanistan.
The Herat Regional Hospital has been flooded with patients following the earthquake — with the 600-bed hospital reportedly reaching capacity by afternoon on the day the earthquake struck.
Doctors Without Borders / Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF) supports the hospital and manages its pediatric section. In response to the quakes, MSF has provided mass casualty kits to treat up to 400 wounded patients, and stationed a medical team at the hospital’s emergency room for further support.
MSF is monitoring the situation as search and rescue efforts continue, and has set up five medical tents within the hospital’s compound with the capacity to accommodate up to 80 patients.
CARE in Afghanistan is assessing the needs of communities and providing emergency assistance, including dispatching its mobile medical clinics and distributing dignity kits and blankets to women and girls affected by the earthquakes.
“We are particularly concerned about the impact of the earthquake on these communities, especially women and girls who already face serious restrictions on their freedom, hindering their ability to access critical livesaving services,” said Reshma Azmi, CARE’s deputy country director in Afghanistan.
7. Muslim Hands
Muslim Hands has been working in Afghanistan for over two decades, helping to offer humanitarian assistance amid the country’s ongoing humanitarian emergency. Its work continues despite the earthquake, including through treating malnutrition in mothers and babies in Kabul, providing food to families, and providing clean drinking water for villages.
Within hours of the quakes, Herat-based World Food Programme (WFP) teams began distributing high-energy biscuits to 700 families in Seya Aab, Koshak, and Karnil villages.
The organization is now working to distribute food assistance to up to 100,000 earthquake-affected people, including through food packages that can feed a family of seven for a month and include items such as wheat flour, vegetable oil, legumes, and salt. The earthquakes have struck amid an ongoing hunger crisis, with 15 million Afghans struggling to get the food they need.
Following the earthquakes, The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) is continuing its work responding to the country’s humanitarian crisis and meeting people’s basic needs.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is collaborating with other NGOs to assess the extent of the damage and provide essential assistance to those in need. It has mobilized its emergency response teams, prioritizing medical care. The IRC has deployed four mobile health teams, which are equipped to deliver essential medical services, to the affected areas, spanning Zindajan and Enjil districts.
It is further working to conduct a full needs assessment, which will gather information to guide the distribution of aid, including cash assistance and emergency non-food items.
Save the Children has worked in Afghanistan since 1976, and is currently working to meet the urgent needs for health care supplies, blankets, shelter, water, and sanitation.
Thousands of children and their families have been left without homes, and Save the Children is deploying emergency humanitarian assistance to support them. The agency is coordinating with partners for its response, which includes cash distributions for families, baby hygiene and children's well-being kits, and mental health support for children.
12. Support LEARNAfghanistan’s Fundraiser
LEARN Afghanistan has teamed up with Sense of Humanity to launch a GoFundMe page to raise donations following the earthquakes.
LEARN Afghanistan, the country’s first digital school network, was founded by Afghan social and political rights activist Pashtana Durrani, recognized as one of this year’s Global Citizen Prize winners for her work fighting for human rights and girls’ education despite living in exile.
LEARN’s earthquake response is focusing on offering medical supplies and hygiene essentials to those injured; distributing essential food and clean water to affected communities; and providing tents for privacy and warmth for the affected families.
13. Raise Awareness
If you can’t donate at this time but want to help, consider sharing this article with friends, family, or on your social media accounts — it could well end up in front of someone who is in a position to support the relief effort financially.