Distribution of tents, blankets, drinking water and food in Herat province

The international Christian relief organization Shelter Now has begun providing emergency relief in the earthquake zone in western Afghanistan. After the delivery of medicine to the hospital in the provincial capital Herat, the distribution of tents, blankets, drinking water and food to the survivors of the devastating earthquakes of October 7 is now starting, according to the German Shelter Now director Udo Stolte.

According to the Afghan government, at least 2,500 people died in the disaster, and a total of more than 11,000 were affected by the quake. Sindajan district, about 30 kilometers northwest of Herat, suffered the worst damage. According to the United Nations, more than 1,400 houses collapsed, burying many people. 16 villages, which are insufficiently protected against earthquakes due to their simple construction, were completely destroyed – many inhabitants are still missing.

According to the report, more than 1,300 injured people have been taken to the hospital, but many victims have not yet received medical assistance. “The people who have become homeless sleep outside, even though it cools down significantly at night,” reports Udo Stolte. Shelter Now has already transferred 70,000 euros to Afghanistan for first emergency relief activities. “More funds will be needed,” Stolte expects, and is asking for donations to help.

Many residents of Herat collected relief supplies on their own and transported them to the earthquake zone. They help residents pick up and bury their dead, search for survivors, and bring the injured to the hospital. Local government officials go door-to-door in Herat asking the public for donations of money and goods.

Shelter Now has been present in Herat province for about 15 years with development projects. Several dental clinics, among others, have been established there. The most recently opened clinic in the large village of Shekiban is close to the epicenter of the earthquake, but was only slightly damaged. Furthermore, the relief organization has mainly launched agricultural projects in the area, for example the “Women’s Garden”, a saffron production or the preservation of food.


Brunswick, October 10, 2023

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