23 June 2022

The UN Refugee Agency is delivering urgent aid to areas of Afghanistan devastated by the country’s deadliest earthquake in two decades.

Officials are reporting that nearly 1,000 people have died – and many more are injured – after the 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck eastern Afghanistan early on Wednesday.

Critical infrastructure – such as roads and power supplies – has also been damaged, in an area where people are already displaced by conflict.

The focus is on search and rescue operations to find survivors, with fears more lives could be lost if people are not reached urgently.

“I convey my deepest sympathies to the people of Afghanistan and especially those who have lost friends and family in this horrific natural disaster,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

“UNHCR stands with Afghans at this difficult time and will make all efforts to provide relief to those affected,” he said.

UNHCR has deployed staff to the most affected areas in Pakitika and Khost provinces and is rushing supplies to people in need.

Immediate needs include emergency trauma care, shelter, food, water, hygiene and sanitation support.

Australia for UNHCR National Director Naomi Steer is calling on Australians to support Afghanistan during this time.

“The tragedy unfolding in Afghanistan is heartbreaking, especially given the incredible hardship people have already endured amid the country’s humanitarian crises. My thoughts are with the Afghans who have lost loved ones and their homes.”

“We’ve seen Australians give generously in recent months to support those already affected by the crises in Afghanistan, and once again Afghans are in need of our solidarity and support. Let’s stand with Afghanistan during this difficult time.” 

Afghanistan is facing a dire humanitarian crisis with some 3.5 million people displaced inside the country. Millions of others are struggling to survive amid rising levels of poverty and hunger, with social services under immense strain.

UNHCR has worked with Afghans in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries for the last four decades. Nearly one million displaced Afghans and host communities have been assisted with aid since January this year.

Australia for UNHCR National Director Naomi Steer is available for an interview.

Australia for UNHCR media contact:
Alex Fisher: [email protected] 0498 998 018
Lisa Upton: [email protected] 0420 754 441


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