Children, families at risk following Herat earthquake: UNICEF

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)  issued a statement on Sunday, expressing concern for the welfare of children and families who are now at risk following a 6.3-magnitude earthquake that struck Herat province in western Afghanistan.

On Saturday morning at approximately 11:00 AM, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake and several powerful aftershocks rocked western Afghanistan, affecting Herat, Badghis, and Farah provinces. Some of the hardest-hit areas are located just 40 kilometers from Herat city.

While the full extent of the destruction remains unknown, preliminary assessments suggest that several hundred individuals, including women and children, have tragically lost their lives or sustained injuries, UNICEF reported.

Fran Equiza, UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan, conveyed his condolences, stating, “Let me express our heartfelt condolences to families mourning the loss of loved ones. Together with our partners, we will make every effort to bring quick relief to those affected.”

UNICEF confirmed that its teams are actively on the ground, conducting additional assessments. The injured are receiving treatment in nearby healthcare facilities, with emergency medical supplies provided by UNICEF and its partners. Additionally, UNICEF is supplying emergency tents to support overwhelmed health clinics.

UNICEF has already dispatched 10,000 hygiene kits, 5,000 family kits, 1,500 sets of winter clothing, blankets, 1,000 tarpaulins, and basic household items. These provisions will complement the support being provided by other UN agencies and partner organizations.

Equiza concluded, “As always, UNICEF stands in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan during this difficult time.”

The cumulative death toll resulting from the earthquakes is currently estimated to exceed 2,000.