Insecurity, economic hardship, and political instability in Afghanistan are compounded by natural disasters that affect the country and its people annually. Badakhshan province in the northeast has experienced a number of severe earthquakes over the past three months, resulting in the destruction of homes and the loss of life. Those whose homes were destroyed or who lost family members in the earthquakes have yet to receive assistance from any aid agency and are in need of help.
Ahmadullah, a 27–year–old man residing in the “Sern“ village of Yaftal district in Badakhshan province, informed Hasht–e–Subh that none of the aid agencies in Afghanistan have provided assistance to his family, who are living in a dire situation. He stated, “Unfortunately, both our environment and our people have been greatly impacted by the earthquake. Many of our people have been forced to relocate, and some—including myself—have lost their children. Our home and its contents have been completely destroyed. We are in desperate need of help. Therefore, we are requesting the support of the Taliban and the relevant organizations.”
Shafiqullah, a resident of Baharak district in Badakhshan province, stated that his house had been ruined due to the earthquake. He further elaborated that the cold winter had already weakened the walls of his house, but the earthquake caused it to collapse. “Winter came, and the humidity caused our house to collapse in the earthquake. All of our possessions at home were destroyed. We suffered greatly and lost everything we had. The roof fell on us; however, we were fortunate enough to survive, though we were severely injured.”
Despite the passage of time since their homes were destroyed, the earthquake victims in Badakhshan have reported that no relief organization, including the provincial Taliban leaders, has yet provided them with assistance. As the inhabitants of numerous districts in Badakhshan have lost their homes, possessions, clothing, and livestock, the majority of them now need shelter, food, and other necessities.
Over the past three months, Badakhshan has experienced five powerful earthquakes. The residents of Seren, Brokan, and Ghozmurgh villages in Yaftal Payeen district; Ranjak, Ziraki, and Pataw villages in Raghistan district; Abran and Khami–Bahar villages in Darwaz; and Chape Langar and Belki villages in Draem district in Badakhshan province have been most severely affected by the strong seismic waves. Additionally, the inhabitants of Faiz–Abad, the provincial capital of Badakhshan, as well as some Sayeda villages in the Tashkaan district, have also been impacted by this natural disaster and have lost their homes.
The districts of Jerem, Ashkashim, Khabak, and Kashm, as well as the city of Faizabad, have been identified as the primary epicenters of earthquakes that have occurred in Badakhshan during the last three months of this year. These earthquakes occurred in October, November, and December with magnitudes of 4.7, 5.4, and 5.9, respectively.
Despite the fact that no fatalities occurred during the earthquakes, local Taliban leaders in Badakhshan reported that 70 homes were destroyed and hundreds of animals perished as a result. Badakhshan is particularly susceptible to natural disasters such as rockfalls and earthquakes due to its hilly terrain and difficult-to-travel areas.
This year, 22 regions of the country have experienced devastating floods, avalanches, earthquakes, extreme cold, and other natural disasters, resulting in both human and financial losses.
In an interview with the media, Mullah Janan Sayeq, the Taliban‘s Minister for Natural Disasters, reported that 1,106 deaths and 2,157 injuries had been caused by natural catastrophes in Afghanistan this year. Additionally, Sayeq stated that more than 10,000 residential homes had been destroyed and hundreds of animals had perished. Furthermore, the residents of the affected areas expressed their dissatisfaction with the lack of prompt assistance.