World Food Program USA Statement on Afghanistan Earthquake
October 8, 2023 | Our hearts go out to the people of Afghanistan as they cope with the aftermath of a powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck on Saturday, October 7th, 25 miles west of Herat in western Afghanistan. Authorities estimate the current death toll at 2,000, with more than 4,000 people injured and 1,400 displaced. World Food Program USA stands ready to support the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)’s active emergency response efforts in Afghanistan.
Hours after the quake, Herat-based WFP teams began distributing high energy biscuits to 700 affected families in Seya Aab, Koshak and Karnil villages. Many of them have lost their homes and everything they owned. This earthquake is the second to strike the country in two months and comes at a time of immense humanitarian need as over 15 million Afghans face severe food insecurity.
Assessments are ongoing and the U.N. World Food Programme is preparing to reach up to 70,000 earthquake-affected people with food or cash to buy food and has already prepared food packages for 20,000 people. Each package can feed a family of seven for one month and contains fortified wheat flour and vegetable oil, legumes and salt.
The U.N. World Food Programme has worked in Afghanistan since 1963, providing food assistance and resilience support to vulnerable communities impacted by conflict, natural disasters, climate extremes and economic instability. Every year, some 250,000 Afghans on average are affected by a wide range of environmental disasters including floods, droughts, avalanches, landslides and earthquakes. The U.N. World Food Programme also works to strengthen the resilience and livelihoods of communities, with a special focus on women, and to support local economies and long-term economic development.
Faced with severe funding cuts, the U.N. World Food Programme urgently needs $400 million to help 7 million of the most vulnerable Afghans survive the coming months, including prepositioning food ahead of the harsh Afghan winter when entire communities are cut off.