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Looking through the Afghanistan earthquake rubble
9 October 2023

Afghanistan earthquake response

“We are responding with everything we have”

The 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Afghanistan on 7 October has killed over 2,000 people and destroyed homes.

The devastating earthquake hit villages in Herat Province - and has impacted families World Vision works with, as Herat is a key region for our emergency programmes.

World Vision is a first responder, conducting initial assessments, as well as providing 10 mobile health units for urgent medical support. In addition, 300 non-food item kits have been distributed, including temporary shelter such as tents.

Support is also being provided to World Vision staff and families.

Children in Herat already face extreme difficulties and this crisis is the latest in a long list of hardships they’re enduring.

“We are responding with everything we have” – Thamindri de Silva

Thamindri de Silva, World Vision National Director, says:  "The situation is worse than we imagined with people in devastated villages still desperately trying to rescue survivors from under the rubble with their bare hands. Reinforcements from Kabul have arrived this afternoon but there is only one hospital, and it is at full stretch with serious cases being transferred to other private facilities in the city.

Our colleagues and their families are processing this devastation in their hometowns, and yet we are responding with everything we have. People need urgent medical care, water, food, shelter and help to stay safe.”

Afghanistan earthquake doorway left standing

Ayoub lives in a nearby village: “I was sitting in my shop. I saw that the earth shook once. I immediately got out of the shop. In the first shock, only few walls collapsed. Less than a minute later, when it was the second shock, all of them were collapsed. [From my village] men were outside and women were at home. Most of [those who died] were women and children. From my family, there was one women and three children.”

What comes next?

Emergency responses are part of World Vision's DNA.

The next steps are finalising assessments and implementing broader response plans.

World Vision Afghanistan will scale up the response with activities focussed on helping children and families to survive.

Programmes will focus on food, WASH (water, sanitation) and child protection in the coming days and weeks.

In October 2023, our emergency programmes were already placed to increase support to children through health clinics and hunger-fighting activities. In light of this tragic earthquake, supporter gifts are perfectly positioned to deliver food, water and medical support to children in Herat.

Gifts to our emergency programme are helping Afghan children and families to survive, recover and build a future.


Afghanistan is a primarily agricultural country in Central Asia, producing some of the world's best pomegranates, grapes and sweet melons. Afghanistan has been in an ongoing conflict since 2001, a radical political group has waged war against the government and taken control of many parts of the country.

In Afghanistan our projects focus on community building programmes. Their success relies heavily on collaboration with local community and faith leaders. Sensitively administered, with respect for local culture and beliefs, the programme currently facilitates community awareness sessions for men regarding child marriage and rights of women. We are also providing sessions for women and girls, to ensure they know their worth, feel safe in their community and understand their rights in relation to violence against women and child marriage.

The country experienced a devastating drought in 2019, which destroyed all the crops and 60% of the livestock in Western Afghanistan. The drought drove over 250,000 people from their homes to seek aid, but even the humanitarian camps they came to have run out of food by now.

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