UNHCR urgently appeals for over $14 million for Herat earthquake victims

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has made an urgent appeal for $14.4 million to ramp up its assistance to the people affected by the recent earthquakes in Afghanistan.

Western province of Herat was rocked by a devastating earthquake on October 7, which left over 2,400 people dead and more than 2,000 injured. At least one died and 140 others were injured in another deadly quake in the same area on Wednesday, October 11.

The UN Secretary General’s Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that over 17,000 people have been affected by the recent earthquakes.

The UNHCR said in a statement that “these estimated figures” are likely to increase as the full scale of the disaster becomes apparent.

The statement stressed the need to provide humanitarian assistance to vulnerable people to help them to avoid “further tragedy.”

“As people mourn their loved ones, many are forced to sleep under the open skies after the complete destruction of their mud houses in the affected zones,” the statement read.

Around 20 villages have been destroyed in Zindajan district of Herat, which was the epicenter of a magnitude 6.3 earthquake on October 7.

According to the UNHCR, women and children are among “those hardest hit.”

The immediate needs for the affected people include emergency shelters, heaters, kitchen sets, clean water, food and warm clothing ahead of the cold winter months, the statement reads.

“Refugee Housing Units (RHUs) will be provided to overcrowded hospitals to accommodate survivors of the earthquakes who are currently receiving casualty treatment and sleeping outdoors,” it added.

The UN refugee’s agency vowed to pay efforts to ensure people with special needs are identified and receive the required support.

The circle, according to the UNHCR, includes “those with disabilities, older people and child- and female-headed households.”

It also urged the international community to provide immediate support to the people affected by the earthquake ahead of the upcoming, harsh winter months.