IOM Team Reaches Villages at Epicenter of Earthquake in Afghanistan

Date Published: 
Friday, October 30, 2015

IOM is continuing to assess needs and prepare aid distributions in Afghanistan following Monday’s devastating earthquake.

The Afghan government estimates that 6,800 families in 13 provinces were affected by the 7.5 magnitude earthquake, with 84 people killed and 394 injured.

Badakshan province, where the earthquake originated, was the worst affected. On Wednesday, IOM teams reached villages in Badakshan’s Jurm district, the epicenter of the earthquake.

IOM has been working to access and assess needs in as many affected areas as possible, in close coordination with the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) and humanitarian partners.

Assessments have been completed or are currently being carried out in Badakhshan, Nangarhar, Laghman, Kunar, Parwan, Panjshir, Kapisa, Baghlan and Paktya provinces.

Aid distributions for 110 families in Laghman province and 65 families in Kunar province are planned to begin today (30/11.) Depending on their needs, the families will receive emergency shelter, household supplies, blankets and solar lanterns.

“As soon as the needs in the areas hit by the earthquake are determined, we are ready to rapidly mobilize relief supplies from our warehouses across the country,” said IOM Afghanistan Chief of Mission Richard Danziger.

Priority needs that have emerged during the assessments so far are shelter, cooking sets, blankets, winter clothing and other household supplies.  While some families with damaged homes have been able to stay with relatives and friends, others are sleeping in makeshift shelters in the open.

“With the approach of winter and temperatures dropping at night, there are serious concerns for people living in the open,” said Gul Mohammad Ahmadi, manager of IOM Afghanistan’s Humanitarian Assistance Program. “Furthermore, daily life in many areas has been disrupted, with damage to schools, clinics, roads and other infrastructure. Some families also lost their crops and livestock.”

Access remains a challenge, with roads and bridges damaged in some areas as well as security concerns. Mobile phone networks in the affected provinces have also been unreliable. Remote areas that cannot be reached by vehicle will require helicopters to access.

Support for IOM’s natural disaster response operations is provided by USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and the Government of Japan.

For more information, please contact Matt Graydon at IOM Kabul, Tel. +93 794 100 546, Email: mgraydon@iom.int