Afghanistan

Afghanistan earthquake: INTERSOS emergency medical teams on standby, ready to respond

INTERSOS has an emergency medical team ready to be deployed to provide support in the aftermath of the devastating 5.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Afghanistan in the early hours of Wednesday 22 June.

Current estimates suggest that at least 1,000 people have been killed and more than 1,500 injured, but the death toll and casualty numbers are expected to rise as rescuers begin to reach remote communities in the mountainous region.

In the coming hours - and in coordination with the WHO and the national and local authorities - INTERSOS will deploy two surgeons, one anesthetist and two nurses to provide emergency trauma care to those most in need of assistance. Members of our Mobile Health Teams are also on standby, ready to respond with health and protection support.

Nasr Muflahi, Country Director for INTERSOS in Afghanistan, said:

“Last night’s earthquake could not have happened at a worse time. People in Afghanistan were already enduring enormous amounts of suffering, with 20 million facing acute levels of food insecurity, and almost 7 million on the brink of starvation. The economic crisis has led to thousands of people losing their jobs, the ongoing drought means that millions have lost their livelihoods - and now untold numbers have lost their homes and their dear family members and friends. Our doctors and nurses will soon be on their way to support those in urgent need of emergency medical treatment, and we are mobilising our dedicated protection teams to provide psychological support to help those affected cope with the magnitude of this disaster and its impacts. However, the needs elsewhere remain vast and it is vital that the earthquake does not detract from the continually deteriorating humanitarian situation across the rest of the country. Millions of people need support and the time to act is now.”

INTERSOS is calling for urgent funding to enable the humanitarian community to rapidly scale-up its response in the wake of this disaster, but warns that the international community should not forget about the humanitarian needs elsewhere in the country. It is vital that the international community steps-up and fully funds the $4.4 billion that is required to meet the needs of the population as a whole. Additionally, the liquidity crisis needs to be urgently addressed to enable people to get back on their feet. International donors should proactively work with private financial institutions in the US and Europe and Da Afghanistan Bank to identify a swift solution that would allow for the release of frozen assets back into the Afghan economy. They should also reinstate DAB’s credentials to allow it to once again interact with the international banking system. Humanitarian assistance cannot be a substitute for a functioning economy.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:

  1. Kirsty Cameron in Afghanistan: communication.afghanistan@intersos.org
  2. Chiara De Stefano in Italy: chiara.destefano@intersos.org

About INTERSOS

INTERSOS has been working in Afghanistan for over 20 years, and currently provides health, nutrition and protection services in Kandahar, Kabul and Zabul provinces. With a strong focus on community engagement, we currently operate 14 health facilities in some of the most remote parts of the country and have a particular focus on supporting women, children and GBV survivors in hard-to-reach areas who would otherwise have no access to health or protection services.

Our facilities include Basic Health Centres, Mobile Health Teams, First Aid Trauma Points, as well as support to the maternity ward at the provincial hospital in Zabul. Our doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists and protection specialists all work together through an integrated health-protection approach to provide life-saving treatment, out-patient consultations, ante- and post-natal care, family planning, vaccinations, screening and treatment for malnutrition and advice on infant and young child feeding practices - as well as counselling and one-to-one support for at-risk women, children, people with disabilities, and the elderly. Additionally, our child friendly spaces provided a place for children with no access to education, to safely learn and play.