Social Media

UN: Herat Post-Earthquake Reconstruction Needs $400 Million

VANCOUVER, CANADA – According to a joint report led by the United Nations, the reconstruction of earthquake affected areas in Afghanistan’s Herat province needs more than $400 million.      

The Post Disaster Needs Assessment report, released on Wednesday, February 21, was a collaborative effort of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank, the European Union, and the Islamic Development Bank. 

Last October, a powerful 6.3” earthquake reverberated several districts in Herat with multiple aftershocks. According to the United Nations report, these earthquakes resulted in the death of over 1,500 people and injuries to more than 2,600 others. Other sources, such as the Taliban who control public hospitals said that the casualties were as high as 4000.

According to the report, the nine locations most severely hit by last October’s quake have a population of around 2.2 million people in several districts.

The UN says that the earthquakes in Herat have affected 275,000 people in nearly 4000 families, including around 40,000 pregnant women and children. Among those affected are over 10,000 elderly, people with disabilities and people with chronic illnesses.      

The report indicates that earthquakes in Herat have caused direct damages of up to $217 million and an additional $78.9 million in indirect damages.       

According to the report, the housing sector has suffered the most significant damage as nearly 50,000 houses were destroyed or damaged. Reconstructing shelters for those in need account for 41% of the requested budget ($164.4 million).

The education sector is the second most affected area, with 180,000 students and 4,390 teachers facing difficulties in the earthquake-affected areas.

The report also highlights significant losses in the agricultural sector, which is the primary source of employment for most people in the area.   

Yet, much like any other crisis, the earthquakes have exacerbated gender-based challenges, particularly impacting businesses managed by women, with 60 to 70% of such businesses affected significantly. Only 10% of women-managed businesses have managed to resume operations post-earthquake, the authors of the report say.     

Indrika Ratwatte, Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan and Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs for the UN says, “The post-disaster needs assessment proposes a plan to improve the future for those affected.”