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On June 21, a powerful earthquake shook the provinces of Khost and Paktika in Afghanistan. The earthquake, and the many aftershocks killed more than 1,000 people, injured 6,000 and destroyed more than 2,000 houses.

More than 360,000 people now need humanitarian assistance after the earthquake, and in addition to loss of life and devastating damage, the earthquake has resulted in the destruction of critical infrastructure – including homes, health facilities, schools, and irrigation networks. This results in thousands of people vulnerable to further harm.

“The earthquake has caused great economic and personal losses for the people of Paktikas Giyan, Barmal and Sapera district in Khost province. All the villages in these districts are seriously affected, says Secretary General of the Afghanistan Committee, Liv Kjølseth.

The districts are located between mountains and most of the houses in the area were built of earth and wood. This meant that when the earthquake hit, most of the houses were destroyed and the survivors became homeless. NAC has now begun rebuilding houses for the victims who lost their homes in the disaster. In this area, the houses are mainly made of earth and stone, and poorly equipped to cope with earthquakes.

Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany say that such a small quake should not have such deadly consequences, and that what happened in Afghanistan is a combination of the fact that the quake was close to the surface – only 10 km underground, and that the construction of houses is so vulnerable. Had the quake hit somewhere else, the consequences would have been significantly less.

NAC is currently reconstructing 180 houses in Barmal district and will support 7680 households with cash to make it through the winter. The rebuilding of these houses is a life-saving act, as this area gets extremely cold in winter. NaC’s hard-working team is therefore working hard to get these houses built before winter.

“We will employ more than 2,000 people to contribute to the reconstruction of the houses in Barmal. In addition, the organization has conducted a survey and identified the families’ needs, and NOK 3000 is given to each family as financial assis

tance to help them through the winter, says Kjølseth.

Food security and flooding

In addition to the earthquake, the area has suffered major damage as a result of flooding in recent months. This has resulted in large financial losses and loss of arable land.

“With fao support, NAC will support more than 260,000 disaster victims, particularly marginalised people, in 11 provinces. This includes internally displaced people, farmers, livestock owners, disabled and female-led households. The support includes cash, seeds and other equipment that will, among other things, help farmers grow their own food,” explains Kjølseth.

Exposed to natural disasters

Afghanistan is a country thatis particularly vulnerable to natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, floods and droughts. Such earthquakes show how important it is that we support the local population in building better response capacity and at the same time provide training in risk reduction so that they can deal with disasters when they occur.

This year, the impact of flooding has been greater than normal, due to drought earlier in the year. So far during the summer, over 18,000 people have been affected by flooding, and over four hundred people have died. In the floods in early July alone in Nangarhar, Nuristan and Ghazni, over 300 homes were severely damaged. Several of Afghanistan’s provinces have been affected, including Khost and Paktika , which are already heavily affected by the Earthquake in June.


“It is also important that investments are made in long-term measures that will reduce the scale and consequences of such natural disasters. We therefore work with disaster response and emergency preparedness through education and training in the

Afghan countryside, but also with the development of infrastructure that can withstand earthquakes and floods,” says Kjølseth.