U.N. pledges $5M as Afghanistan earthquake death toll approaches 2,500

By Clyde Hughes

United Press International
Oct. 9, 2023
Oct. 9 (UPI) — The United Nations pledged $5 million in emergency reserves in response to Afghanistan‘s recovery from Saturday’s devastating 6.3-magnitude earthquake.

The U.N.’s Humanitarian Coordinator approved the emergency reserve allocation from the Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund, which will be processed within 24 hours with eligible partners able to utilize their grants effective Monday, officials said.

“The United Nations and our partners in Afghanistan are coordinating with the de facto authorities to swiftly assess needs and provide emergency assistance,” U.N. spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the death toll soared as search and rescue efforts continued.

Mullah Janan Saiq, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s Ministry for Disaster Management, said the death toll rose to 2,445 people on Sunday but expected that number to soar as workers continued to dig through the rubble, much of it by hand.

“In total, 11,585 people (1,655 families) are assessed to have been affected” by the earthquakes the United Nations said Sunday evening, with “100% of homes estimated to have been completely destroyed” in 11 villages.

The epicenter of the earthquake was 25 miles west of Herat city, the third largest city in Afghanistan, making it one of the deadliest quakes that hit the country in years.

“The situation is worse than we imagined with people in devastated villages still desperately trying to rescue survivors from under the rubble with their bare hands,” said Thamindri de Silva, national director at the agency World Vision Afghanistan.

U.N. pledges $5M as Afghanistan earthquake death toll approaches 2,500