Afghanistan Earthquake

Afghanistan Earthquake

Current Situation Overview

At 01:24 am on the 22 June, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck the Central Region of Afghanistan affecting Khost provinces as well as Naki, Zirok, Barmal, and Gayan, districts of the province of Paktika. The earthquake was recorded at a depth of 10 km and reportedly felt in Kabul, as well as in Islamabad, Pakistan, and India. 

Regional and local authorities’ initial estimates are that at least 1,000 people have been killed and over 1,600 injured, although both numbers are expected to increase. In addition, up to 1,800 homes have reportedly been destroyed and damaged in Gayan, about 70 percent of the district’s residential infrastructure. At least 25 villages were nearly completely destroyed, including public buildings such as mosques and schools. The earthquake coincided with heavy monsoon rain in the region, making traditional houses, many made of mud and other natural materials, particularly vulnerable to damage.

Immediate needs identified include emergency trauma care, emergency shelter, non-food items, food assistance, and WASH support. The areas most impacted by the earthquake are remote and sparsely populated, situated a significant distance from hospitals, complicating the logistical arrangements for any response. 

At this time, the Taliban have not issued a formal request for the mobilization of United Nations assets, but have called for international communications and humanitarian organizations to “spare no effort to help the affected people.”

This tragedy comes on top of estimates that almost half the country’s population – 20 million people – are experiencing acute hunger, according to a report the UN published in May. 

Additionally, the local health systems are known to be fragile and lacking resources. Recently, Airlink partnered with NGO Save the Children to deliver mixed medical cargo to support healthcare initiatives such as mobile clinics. In total, Airlink helped move nearly 40 tons of medical aid to support health systems strengthening efforts in 9 of Afghanistan’s provinces. 

Our Response

In response to the earthquake on Tuesday, Airlink is coordinating with our NGO, airline, and logistics partners to build workable logistics and transport solutions for responding organizations. While Kabul Airport is open to commercial flights, only a few commercial operators are currently serving KBL, and prices for commercial and charter flights to the airport remain very high.

Significant challenges in accessing communities in need are due to conditions of roads and terrain, and weather. The poor quality of roadways is exacerbated by ongoing rains, increasing the risk of landslides. Widespread flooding across the country has closed off large parts of national highways.