Media release

UK for UNHCR calls for urgent support following devastating earthquakes in Afghanistan


LONDON, 13 October 2023 — UK for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, launches an emergency appeal following the destruction caused by the recent earthquakes in Afghanistan.  

Two 6.3 magnitude earthquakes struck just four days apart near the city of Herat, destroying homes and injuring hundreds of people. Over 2,000 people lost their lives, a vast majority among them women and children. Reports indicate over 12,000 people have been affected by the earthquake, but this number is expected to increase as the full scale of the disaster unfolds.  

UNHCR is actively working with national, international and UN partners to respond to the crisis, providing emergency shelter, clean drinking water, food assistance, protection and warm clothing, particularly ahead of the upcoming, harsh winter months. 

UNHCR teams have been on the ground since day one and are now scaling up the humanitarian response in the areas affected by the earthquake, delivering tents, blankets, and core relief items including solar lamps and hygiene kits to families who have been displaced and lost everything.  

The teams are actively identifying people with specific needs, including people with disabilities, older persons and female-headed households, to provide tailored support. Additionally, plans are underway to deliver psychosocial support to help those affected by the earthquake overcome the trauma. 

Before these earthquakes, Afghanistan was already home to over 3.2 million internally displaced people, over 52,000 refugees and approximately 13,500 Afghan refugee returnees. The earthquakes have exacerbated the existing humanitarian challenges in the region. 

The scale of humanitarian needs may be much bigger than anticipated as powerful aftershocks continue to strike Afghanistan amidst challenging search and rescue operations.

Emma Cherniavsky, Chief Executive of UK for UNHCR, said:  

“My heart goes out to the people of Afghanistan who are grappling with the aftermath of a devastating earthquake, especially as the unforgiving winter season looms.  

“UNHCR is committed to ensuring that families impacted by the destruction receive the care and support they need to help them through this difficult time.

“Your support can make a world of difference. Together, we can provide the immediate relief and assistance these families desperately need.”

To donate to UK for UNHCR’s emergency Afghanistan earthquake appeal visit  


For more information, please contact: Sara Guy, [email protected], 0208 183 0121 

Notes to Editor 

About UK for UNHCR  

UK for UNHCR is the UN Refugee Agency’s national charity partner for the UK. We build solidarity, create partnerships and raise funds across the UK to help deliver global humanitarian relief for refugees through UNHCR’s work.   

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, leads international action to protect people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. It delivers life-saving assistance like shelter, food and water, helps safeguard fundamental human rights, and develops solutions that ensure people have a safe place to call home where they can build a better future. UNHCR also works to ensure that stateless people are granted a nationality.  

UK for UNHCR is a registered charity in England and Wales (registered charity number 1183415).   

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