Afghanistan: EU approves €3.5 million in aid for earthquake-hit families

In response to the devastating earthquake that struck western Afghanistan over the weekend, the European Union (EU) has authorized emergency humanitarian aid totaling €3.5 million to address the most pressing needs of the affected population.

Of this amount, €2.5 million will be allocated to humanitarian partners already engaged in relief operations on the ground, the EU office in Afghanistan said in a statement on Tuesday.

The primary requirements in the affected area include emergency shelter, medical supplies, and access to safe drinking water and sanitation, particularly in a region recently impacted by droughts, the statement said.

This fresh allocation supplements the €89 million in humanitarian aid previously designated in 2023 for humanitarian organizations operating within the country. Notably, EU humanitarian aid in Afghanistan is exclusively directed through humanitarian partners actively involved in the region, said the statement.

Furthermore, the EU said it is extending in-kind assistance from its own humanitarian reserves located in Dubai, under the umbrella of the European Humanitarian Response Capacity (EHRC).

These reserves include shelter kits, winterized tents, hygiene kits, and other essential supplies, which will be made available to humanitarian partners based on their immediate needs on the ground. These provisions can be transported via a new flight facilitated by the EU Humanitarian Air Bridge, with the overall operation cost estimated at around €1 million. To date, 31 flights have been arranged through this air bridge, with the latest arrival on October 7th.

“The recent earthquake in Afghanistan compounds the suffering of a population already grappling with a dire humanitarian situation. The EU remains committed to supporting the Afghan people, mobilizing the various tools at our disposal. This aid package, valued at €3.5 million, will provide much-needed relief to the victims of this devastating disaster,” EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic, said.

Maciej Popowski, Director-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, and Raffaella Iodice, the EU Chargée d’Affaires a.i. to Afghanistan, have arrived in Herat and are visiting the areas most severely impacted by the earthquake.

Maciej Popowski, speaking from Herat, stated, “The EU’s emergency funding of €3.5 million demonstrates our solidarity with the Afghan people. Being on the ground here in Herat, I am deeply moved by the devastating human toll of the earthquake. During these challenging times, I commend the tireless efforts of our humanitarian partners and first responders working diligently to save lives.”

Raffaella Iodice, the EU Chargée d’Affaires to Afghanistan, said that she traveled to Herat on Tuesday morning and that she is witnessing the immense destruction and human suffering caused by this powerful earthquake.

“The EU aid package of €3.5 million will empower our humanitarian partners to enhance their support to survivors of the disaster. The EU and our humanitarian partners stand in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan,” she added.