Afghanistan: Earthquake-hit families in Herat face shelter shortages

Survivors of the October 7 earthquake in Herat province in the west of the country are grappling with a shortage of suitable shelter and essential life facilities, raising concerns as winter approaches.

Expressing distress over the aid distribution process, survivors argue that despite the arrival of substantial assistance, effective management remains lacking.

A 70-ton shipment of humanitarian aid from Qatar reached Herat a week ago, but many victims are still without adequate shelter, exposing them to harsh winter conditions.

Raz Mohammad, an earthquake victim taking refuge in a relative’s house due to the lack of proper shelter, voiced his worries about the future for himself and his family.

“I am blind and staying in people’s houses in the center [of Herat City]. I have a disabled kid; I have nothing else,” he said.

Despite recent aid deliveries, which included blankets, dates, food packages, and health kits, victims are demanding fair and transparent distribution.

Abdulatif Sabit, the operational deputy of the Red Crescent in Herat, provided details on the assistance received from Qatar, stating: “We received the assistance today, [which includes] 7,750 blankets, 20 tons of dates, and 2,000 packages of food parcels and 1,000 packages of medical kits.”

Ghulam Reza, a resident of Herat, pleaded for aid, saying: “Come and see my life up close; if I deserve help, help me, if not, don’t. Come and see my life with your own eyes.”

While Turkey and Jordan have also sent aid packages in the past ten days, the central issue for victims revolves around concerns about transparency, criteria, and methods employed in the distribution of aid.