Strengthening resilience in post-earthquake Afghanistan

UNDP and partners to conduct Post-Disaster Needs Assessment for Herat

October 18, 2023

The signature ceremony for the Letter of Intent in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Photo: UNDP Afghanistan


Kabul, 18 October 2023 – In response to the earthquakes that have devastated Herat province in western Afghanistan, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank (WB), the European Union (EU), and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), have signed a Letter of Intent to undertake a Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) exercise.

The earthquakes on 7, 11, and 15 October 2023 in Herat resulted in widespread destruction, with over 3,330 homes completely destroyed, the majority of them in Zindajan district. So far, 66,360 people (12,100 families) have been directly affected across eight districts. More than 1,500 people confirmed dead, and over 2000 injured. The survivors are mainly living in tents, enduring the cold, and in need of water, health care, food, and proper shelter. Many have lost everything.

The PDNA joint effort demonstrates a collective international commitment to address the post-disaster needs of the affected people, and to help communities recover from the devastation. The PDNA aims to assess the impact of the earthquake in all sectors - health, education, shelter, agriculture, livelihoods, etc. - as well as its impact on human welfare. It will also estimate the cost of recovery and rebuilding, and provide critical data needed to facilitate recovery and enhance resilience in the most affected areas.

The signature ceremony for the Letter of Intent was attended by Daniel Peter Endres, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-​General (DSRSG), Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim (a.i.); Raffaella Iodice, Chargée d’Affaires a.i., EU Delegation to Afghanistan; Stephen Rodriques, UNDP Afghanistan Resident Representative; Olivier Lavinal, Sustainable Development Program Leader for Afghanistan, World Bank; and Yasmin Siddiqi, Director, Agriculture, Food, Nature and Rural Development, ADB.

“People have started to rebuild their lives, so we need to be with them in this most important time,” said Daniel Peter Endres, DSRSG. “What is absolutely important is that we help the people not only survive this ordeal, but also build back better to resume their lives that have been disrupted.”

“A thorough, inclusive, and data-driven approach will enable all of us to accurately assess the needs of the Afghan people and develop targeted recovery plans. That is why the European Union is fully supportive of the PDNA initiative and joins forces with its strategic partners which are the World Bank, UNDP and the Asian Development Bank. The EU remains committed to support basic needs and livelihoods of the Afghan people” stated Raffaella Iodice.

“It is truly heart-breaking to see a people who have suffered so much over the past 40 years, suffer yet again, and from a disaster of this magnitude. The PDNA is a critical tool to help us assess the full extent of the damage, destruction, and human impact across all the major sectors. And it will enable  the development of a blueprint for action, and have a coordinated response,” stated Stephen Rodriques, UNDP Afghanistan Resident Representative, during his opening remarks.

“The signing of this letter of intent today, reaffirms our solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, and shows the practical steps we are collectively taking to help them recover and build back their homes, their communities, and their livelihoods.” added Mr. Rodriques.

“The World Bank would like to join the EU, UNDP and ADB in expressing its solidarity with the Afghan people, and with the communities of Herat and surrounding areas impacted by the recent earthquakes,” said Olivier Lavinal. “Across our institution, we are mobilizing to contribute to the international response to the Herat earthquakes.”

“Disasters and shocks continue to remind us of the exposure and vulnerability of the Afghan people, particularly women and girls, who remain fragile yet demonstrate their resilience," said Yasmin Siddiqi. “ADB has already commenced food and health kits distribution to affected communities through its UN partners, UNICEF and WFP, under its ongoing project.” 

The PDNA will employ a participatory and inclusive approach, building upon the ongoing GRADE rapid damage assessment led by the World Bank with support of UNDP. The PDNA will be implemented with the involvement of the UN Agencies and other partners in Afghanistan and focus on reconstruction, livelihoods, and restoring basic services and infrastructure. 

The PDNA demonstrates the international community's strong commitment to support the people of Afghanistan overcome the enormous difficulties caused by this disaster and to build resilience and move towards sustainable development.

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