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Tearfund partners respond as earthquake devastates already-vulnerable communities in Afghanistan

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Media Release

Updated: 31 October 2023

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake has killed more than 2000 people, with thousands more injured as well as houses partially or completely destroyed in western Afghanistan, impacting many regions already suffering from food and economic insecurity. It’s one of the deadliest earthquakes to strike the country in two decades.

Tearfund's local partners in the country are mobilising to respond to the immediate needs of impacted communities, which includes cash programming for the most vulnerable including women and children, people with disability, widows and the aged.

Hedda Ngan, International Partnerships Manager with Tearfund, says:

It's been over 2 weeks since the first 6.3 earthquake in Herat, with another 2 similar sized earthquakes in the days after, including many aftershocks. Our partners are seeing families living outside in temporary shelters due to the fear of more quakes and damage to buildings - our partners themselves are sleeping and working in tents, and some are sleeping in cars. On top of the existing vulnerabilities, winter is approaching and these communities will need to be in more protective dwellings soon.

One of our partners has been leading the mental health response in the affected region as requested by local authorities and have also just submitted their proposal for a humanitarian response that will also include cash and material aid such as blankets and hygiene kits. Another partner is providing support for over 460 families and are seeking more support to be able to reach more households.

At the start of 2022, on the back of the pandemic and the onset of an interim government, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported 24.4 million of Afghanistan’s population of 41 million being in need of humanitarian assistance. One year later, that number rose to 28 million, and currently stands at 29.2 million, with six million on the brink of starvation. A three-year drought and an expansive locust outbreak in 2023 have continued to exacerbate these challenges.

Tearfund has been partnered with local organisations in Afghanistan for almost 50 years. Decades of partnership have meant faithful, courageous support for communities through huge disruptions such as political instability, COVID-19 and natural disasters. At a time when multiple crises are converging and pushing families deeper into poverty, the presence of these longstanding local partners is critical.

To support the ongoing efforts of Tearfund's partners – including those in Afghanistan – as they support communities facing complex and intersecting crises, please give to our Hope in Hard Places Crisis Appeal.

Please pray for:

  • Comfort for individuals and families who have lost loved ones, as well as hope for those who are still looking for family members
  • Protection and strength for community members and local organisations who are working tirelessly searching for survivors and providing humanitarian assistance
  • Providence and help for the following days and weeks as the community of Herat recover and rebuild their homes and their lives


For further information or interview requests call Melody Murton (Tearfund Head of Communications & Education) on (03) 9264 7000 or email [email protected]

Key Messages

Tearfund Australia:

Tearfund works in partnership to end poverty, challenge inequality and build sustainable communities. Following Jesus, we go where the need is greatest, acting with courage to tackle injustice so that all may experience fullness of life. Our partnerships with local Christian agencies develop long-term holistic transformation for communities facing poverty and injustice around the world and in Australia. We do justice together as we inspire, connect and equip Australian Christians to live, act and pray for a more just and compassionate world.