Afghanistan: WFP readies response as earthquake death toll rises

Analysts gathering data to direct agency's fleet of trucks as scale of devastation becomes clearer

The World Food Programme is preparing to respond after an earthquake struck eastern Afghanistan in the early hours of Wednesday morning (22 June), 27 miles from the city of Khost, near the border with Pakistan.

There are hundreds of reported casualties, with rescue missions under way to help those who might be trapped.

With reports of homes having been destroyed in eastern Paltika province, WFP is gathering data to direct its 239-strong fleet of trucks, which deliver food to some 800 distribution sites across all of the country's 34 provinces.

Afghanistan is one of the WFP's most urgent emergencies. Famine-like conditions have been reported for at least 20,000 people in Ghor province, while almost half the country’s population – 20 million people – do not have enough to eat, according to latest figures.

A plummeting economy, back-to-back drought seasons, soaring food prices and the COVID-19 pandemic all contribute to continued suffering for millions.

Mary-Ellen McGroarty, WFP's Country Director for Afghanistan, recently called for donors to step up their support for the country after the organization and its humanitarian partners helped to avert famine over the hard winter months.

So far this year, WFP has provided emergency food and nutrition assistance to 18 million people across Afghanistan. In May we assisted 320,000 people in Khost and more than 590,000 in Paktika provinces. WFP is ever poised to act swiftly and is calling for US$1.15 billion to respond in Afghanistan for the next six months.

Learn more about WFP's work in Afghanistan