Mint Explainer: How Afghanistan is recovering from its earthquake crises

Afghan volunteers clean up rubble after an earthquake. (Photo: AP)
Afghan volunteers clean up rubble after an earthquake. (Photo: AP)


  • Relief organizations estimate that nearly two-thirds of the Afghan populace is in dire need of humanitarian aid.

Days after a devastating earthquake killed over a thousand in Afghanistan, the beleaguered country experienced another seismic event of 6.3 magnitude. On top of current challenges such as food shortages, unemployment, and infrastructure deficiencies, this new disaster further complicates matters. Here's a dive into Afghanistan's troubles.

The sequence of events

Between 7 October and 15 October, Afghanistan and neighboring nations were rocked by a series of earthquakes. The aftermath: over 1.6 million affected, with fatalities surpassing 1,000. As per UN agencies, almost 144,000 Afghans now desperately require humanitarian aid.

How does this impact the country?

The nation, already embroiled in economic and humanitarian dilemmas, faces unemployment skyrocketing with half a million job losses in mere months post the Taliban's ascendancy in September 2021. Concurrently, the economy has shrunk, deepening the crisis. 

Relief entities estimate that nearly two-thirds of the Afghan populace is in dire need of humanitarian aid. 

“The earthquakes have struck vulnerable communities – which are already grappling with decades of conflict and under-development – and left them with little resilience to cope with multiple, simultaneous shocks. They come at the start of Afghanistan’s lean season and immediately before winter, when households’ food resources are most constrained or depleted. Extensive damage to water and sanitation points has raised concerns of disease outbreaks, particularly acute watery diarrhea (AWD)," said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

Complications thereof?

With the Taliban at the helm in Kabul, aid inflow to Afghanistan has become restrictive. Additionally, there are claims, as per some media outlets, of the Taliban redirecting UN's humanitarian aid to augment its own treasury. Furthermore, the stringent regulations imposed by the Taliban, especially those limiting women's rights, have compelled numerous organizations to cease their operations in Afghanistan.

India’s role and response

Though there hasn't been an official statement from Indian representatives, India has a track record of extending humanitarian support to Afghanistan. Previously, India has dispatched wheat consignments via Iran's Chabahar Port and has a dedicated team in Kabul overseeing its developmental initiatives. 

When Afghanistan was rocked by a powerful earthquake in 2022, India was among the nations offering relief aid. Others like the EU, China, Pakistan, and Iran have also pledged assistance.

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