Afghanistan: children need urgent aid after devastating earthquakes

10 October 2023

Plan International’s thoughts are with the children of Afghanistan and their families, after a series of devastating earthquakes struck the west of the country at the weekend.

With more than 2,000 deaths currently reported, and many more injured, it is critical that survivors are reached urgently and that food, water and shelter are delivered without delay.

“In the early days of an earthquake, food, water and emotional care are the most pressing needs for children affected,” said Dr Unni Krishnan, Global Humanitarian Director at Plan International. 

A powerful earthquake measuring 6.3 magnitude struck on Saturday 7th October in rural areas of Western Afghanistan, with people now sleeping amid the rubble as they search for loved ones. More strong tremors occurred on Monday. The widespread devastation, particularly in rural areas, makes rescue efforts fraught with difficulty, with roads and homes reduced to rubble, and vital services destroyed in a region already gripped by a humanitarian crisis.

“Earthquakes are enormously frightening for children, not just the event itself, which is traumatic – but the fact that, afterwards, many sleep outside for fear of recurrent tremors. Children are hungry, exhausted and terrified,” said Dr Krishnan.

“In the initial hours, search and rescue efforts must be the top priority,” Dr Krishnan continued. “Life-saving medical assistance, food, clean water and sanitation are vital – but it is also critical to address the emotional needs of children. In crisis settings, mind matters, and hope matters.

“As an organisation with widespread experience in emergency response we stand in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, and all involved in rescue and relief efforts.”