Afghanistan: children urgently need food, water and emotional care after devastating earthquakes

Toronto, ON, October 10, 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 this 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, October 7, 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 organization with widespread experience in emergency response we stand in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, and all involved in rescue and relief efforts.”

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