Afghanistan

Afghanistan Earthquake: Our Response

A powerful earthquake has hit South East Afghanistan, killing at least 1,000 people. HealthNet TPO mobile health teams are responding to help those people in affected areas.

Powerful earthquake

In the early hours of Wednesday the 22nd June 2022, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck the South East Region of Afghanistan, whilst people were sleeping in their homes. At this moment, it is reported that 1,000 people have been killed and 1,500 injured. The total number, however, cannot be verified and is expected to increase as search and rescue teams continue.

The earthquake struck the provinces of Paktika and Khost, but was felt across the country and as far away as Pakistan and India.

The districts of Giyan, Barmal and Zerok in Paktika, and Spera district in Khost province have been severely affected. At least 70% of houses in these areas have been destroyed, most of them mud-built homes. Recent bad weather and mudslides have made access to affected areas extremely difficult. Many are unable to reach these remote districts to aid in the search and rescue. Communication services are also dysfunctional because of damage to mobile phone towers.

Most of the casualties have been reported in the districts of Paktika province. The remote district of Gyan is one of the worst hit.

Mobile health teams responding

HealthNet TPO runs health facilities in hospitals in Khost province and our teams were able to quickly mobilise three mobile health teams with medical staff, equipment and ambulances to Spera district. Patients were transferred to Khost Provincial Hospital where a 50 bed emergency location has been prepared.

Today, HealthNet TPO mobile teams will be increased from three to five teams, one of which will be sent to Giyan district.

Medical support is coordinated by UNOCHA and the Health Cluster, with healthcare on the ground being provided by (I)NGOs in the province.

Some patients have been evacuated by helicopter to hospitals in Kabul, and hospitals in neighbouring provinces are on standby.

Willem Reussing, Director of Operations, describes the response by our local staff on the ground. "As HealthNet TPO has an overall presence in Khost province, within hours our teams with medical staff, and ambulances with 4x4s were set up and left at first daylight to the affected areas. Communication systems are heavily damaged and contact remains difficult. Our Khost Provincial Hospital initiated an emergency plan and prepared 50 beds for the first casualties."

Listen to Willem Reussing on NPO Radio 1