Afghanistan: Badghis Earthquake - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF Operation n° MDRAF010


A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

On 17 January 2022, at 16:10 local time (UTC +4:30), a 5.3 magnitude earthquake1 struck in Badghis province with its epicentre 41km east of Qala-e-Naw which is the capital of Badghis province. The earthquake was shallow with a depth of 10km. Several other smaller earthquakes struck the area succeeding this earthquake, which was not only felt in Badghis province but also in Ghor and Herat provinces. Initial reports from the earthquake highlighted that 26 people died while 4 were injured. The earthquake affected three out of seven districts of Badghis, namely Qadis, Muqur, and Qala-e-Naw with Qadis district being most severely impacted. The total population in these three districts is estimated at around 260,000, out of which 7,000 people are estimated to be affected by the earthquake. A few days later, on 20 January, Badghis felt another wave of earthquakes. Moreover, the weather was initially rainy and then turned to snow in most of the affected areas in Badghis, where most of the affected residents were residing outside their damaged houses in tents and makeshift shelters, fearful of further earthquakes.

These earthquakes happened when Afghanistan is facing a complex humanitarian crisis resulting from compounding impacts of conflict, drought, food insecurity, and displacement as well as gaps in health services. The situation in Afghanistan remains highly fluid after the change of government on 15 August 2021. Even before the change, Afghanistan was going through a crisis due to drought, which is the worst in 27 years, the COVID-19 pandemic and the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19. Badghis is one of the most vulnerable and worst drought-affected areas of Afghanistan.

Due to the winter season, the areas affected had experienced rain for two days before the initial earthquake, with temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius, compromising the structural integrity of the building structures, which are mostly made from mud. Those who have either lost their houses or have had their houses damaged by the earthquake face an extreme environment. At the same time, they are also coping with a lack of access to food, winter supplies, and an economic downturn. The anticipated needs of the affected population, which are currently being assessed and confirmed are food, clean water, shelter, sanitation facilities, hygiene items and household items.