International Medical Corps responds to devastating earthquake in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Devastating earthquake in north Afghanistan
400 dead|Widespread damage|Relief to survivors
International Medical Corps is providing health care and relief supplies for survivors of the devastating 7.5 magnitude earthquake that struck northern Afghanistan on October 26, killing 400 people and damaging or destroying more than 127,000 homes in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The onset of harsh winter weather has increased the urgency of the relief effort. The response faces access challenges to reach the affected communities, due to mountainous terrain, poor and damaged infrastructure, insecurity and landslides.
International Medical Corps are supporting the governments’ relief efforts, delivering shelter support, relief supplies and hygiene kits, food, medical care and other assistance where needed. In the aftermath of the quake, International Medical Corps supplemented existing health services with mobile medical units to quickly reach people in need of medical care, including eight mobile teams deployed in Nuristan, Afghanistan and we have conducted close to 11,000 emergency and routine consultations in earthquake-affected areas in the province. Our psychosocial counselling teams are reaching people with support following the quake.
We have provided relief supply kits to over 4,100 people containing blankets, multi-purpose plastic sheeting, a water container, kitchen items, hygiene supplies and other items in Afghanistan and distributed 98 tents to families. We further helped respond to the shelter needs families. Our teams must walk almost 10 hours from the nearest road to reach far-flung communities in need, making the response extremely challenging.
In Pakistan, International Medical Corps teams are hiking up to four hours to deliver health care services and psychological first aid. Our mobile medical teams provided health services to patients following the earthquake, with the most common illness being respiratory tract infections along with traumatic injuries and wounds, diarrhea and gastric illnesses, eye infections and other ailments and we have provided psychosocial consultations in Shangla District where survivors face stress, fear and depression resulting from the loss of homes and livelihoods. We are also providing health education sessions on health and hygiene, waterborne diseases and skin diseases. Women’s dignity kits, clean delivery kits and newborn kits are being delivered to pregnant women and mothers through health facilities and to further address women’s protection International Medical Corps has procured 887 solar lamps for distribution in the district.
International Medical Corps’ earthquake response efforts in Afghanistan build upon the humanitarian assistance it has provided to vulnerable populations for 30 years, which include primary and secondary health care for internally displaced, refugees returning from Pakistan, women, and children, as well as training for local health care providers.
International Medical Corps has worked in Pakistan since 1985, and the organisation’s earthquake relief efforts will build upon the humanitarian relief programme it was managing prior to this earthquake, including providing primary health care services to internally displaced Pakistanis and Afghan refugees in four refugee camps in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.