HI teams in IDPs camp, Heart City Hospital | © F. Consoni / HI
On 7 and 11 October, two 6.3 magnitude earthquakes hit Afghanistan’s Herat province. HI has been present in the country since 1987 and is now working alongside its partners to help the victims.
More than 12,000 people have been affected by the two earthquakes across five districts of Herat Province, hitting Zinda Jan district particularly hard. The UN are reporting 1,294 deaths and 1,688 injured.
At Herat Regional Hospital, there are not enough inpatient physiotherapists to deliver much needed physical rehabilitation services. To address this gap, HI has deployed four physiotherapists and four psychosocial staff to provide early rehabilitation services in the hospital, i.e. rehabilitation that comes directly after a medical intervention such as a surgery.
The aim is to ensure prompt and comprehensive trauma care and avoid permanent disability among people injured by the seism.
To date, the 80-bed Regional Hospital in Herat City has admitted more than 450 patients, with another 100 or receiving care in private health facilities. HI teams has so far brought assistance to 138 people and distributed 23 assistive devices.
People in this area are already vulnerable, exhausted by years of war. And winter is on the way.
Immediately after the earthquake, members of HI went out as part of a UN- coordinated team of around 150 people from various NGOs and INGOs. An assessment is underway to determine the most urgent needs.
Herat has not experienced an earthquake of this magnitude for a long time and HI anticipates there will be a significant need for psychological support in the aftermath. Many people are at risk of developing symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some may require psychological support to help them cope with the grieving process.
HI has also deployed six assessment teams to different locations. We should have a clearer picture of the humanitarian situation soon.
But we already know that there is an urgent need for emergency tents and longer-term shelter solutions to withstand the winter, as well as tarpaulins, blankets, clothes, kitchen sets, latrines, drinking water, storage containers and food aid.
HI is coordinating with other humanitarian organisations to see how we can help with these supplies.