During the night of June 22, a strong 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck Paktia, Paktika, and Khust provinces in southeastern Afghanistan, and parts of neighboring areas across the border with Pakistan.
After more than a day of rescue efforts, there are more than 800 confirmed casualties and more than 1,500 injured. However, the numbers will most likely increase given the conformation of the affected areas and the situation in which the country pours. The distribution of remote villages along the mountains, the poor condition of roads and terrain, the current heavy rains, the damages to the communication networks, and the scarcity of resources make both relief efforts and news difficult to reach the entire region. In addition, in some areas most housing buildings have collapsed and many people have found themselves homeless.
This natural disaster weighs even more heavily in a context like Afghanistan, which has been going through an alarming set of compounding crises since last year. Almost the entire population lives in extreme poverty and lacks access to basic services. The health care system, already on the verge of collapse before the earthquake, lacks the capacity to provide care for victims, and the risks of subsequent epidemics are very high: now more than ever, international support for the Afghan population is as necessary as it is urgent.
We work in the country alongside the most vulnerable, who are the ones our organization prioritizes in all the contexts in which we operate: women and children. In particular, in Afghanistan we support widowed women and those who, for other reasons, are the breadwinners of their households. Their freedoms have been more and more reduced and just leaving their houses has become very difficult for them. In this light, they still have to provide for their families, while their chances of working or even begging are almost non-existent. Therefore, we provide economic support every month to 180 women-led households to allow them to buy food. Our intention is to expand the number of our beneficiaries in the coming months.