Major earthquake rocks Afghanistan, Pakistan


Oxfam working with local authorities to determine the most urgent needs

In the aftermath of the 7.5-magnitude quake that struck Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province today, there are reports of widespread damage in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Buildings have collapsed, boulders and landslides have blocked roadways, and in many areas telecommunications have been cut off. Tremors from the quake have been felt in northern India and Tajikistan.

"We have teams working with local authorities and organizations assessing the scale of the damage and what is needed, and we have teams ready to respond where needed,” said Oxfam humanitarian director Jane Cocking.

The death toll is thought to be more than 200, but the extent of the casualties and damage in rural areas  is unclear. Wintry weather will compound both the risks and the suffering of those who cannot return safely to their homes.

"We expect people to be fearful of aftershocks and likely to be sleeping in the open,” said Cocking. They will need protection from the elements, and food, clean water, and hygiene essentials such as soap. It will soon be winter, and people will need shelters that will keep them warm from sub-zero temperatures."

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