On 22 June this year at 1:24 am, the region of Paktika was hit with a 5.9 magnitude earthquake. Over 1,100 people were killed, and 6,000 injured, and around 10,000 homes were destroyed - around 70% of the housing stock in some areas - leaving many survivors without even basic shelter.
February 13, 2023
Zariz Khan, a 45-year-old resident of Norma Khan village, relates the night the earthquake struck his province.
“It was the middle of the night, and the rain was falling so heavily that you could barely hear the sound of thunder from the storm. We took shelter in a friend’s house next to our village. I remember I could smell the Shorwa (a local porridge dish) cooking on the stove - I was very hungry.
Suddenly we heard a terrible sound coming from the ground, and then a sudden movement of the earth beneath our feet - an earthquake! We fled outside the house before it collapsed around our ears. The whole village was soon standing in the pouring rain. My thoughts ran to my family. Where were they? I pictured my family pinned beneath the fallen rubble of the village and I was worried. I ran up the mountain to higher ground to try to get a better signal on my phone, frantically calling my son. There was no reply, just the girl’s voice saying “The number you have dialled…”
I began to walk back to the village. When I got there, I saw my eldest son standing amidst the wreckage of houses. “Baba, our family is well by the grace of Allah,” he said. I found my family. They had escaped without even a scratch. But the hard days were ahead of us, not behind. We had no place to live, yet we were bound by our duty to stay in our village, to help those who could be rescued from beneath their own collapsed homes, and to mourn the dead with their grieving relatives.
The next day, the NGOs came; they gave us food and tents for shelter. Camps were set up in the village. We had shelters now, but it was not home, as they say; the ache for home lives in all of us. My mind was oppressed with the thoughts of being homeless, of having no money to build another house. Then I heard that the NGOs were building houses for those who had lost theirs in the earthquake. A team from the [SCA-ABADEI] project came to our village to assess our needs. Soon, 50 houses were planned for construction in Norma Khan village, and our names were on the list. I could not believe this, that someone would come to help us build our homes. We had never experienced such a thing, people coming to our village to help us. I felt relieved, as if a burden had been lifted. I could envisage a future once more, a home with my family.
The work began, and people from the village were working on the construction, getting paid by the project. I have been handed the new home that I was longing for. I have recently moved everything from the tents to my new house. The houses [SCA-ABADEI] built were made of clay, but for us it is as if they are made of pure gold. We thank them for their generosity. The whole village wholeheartedly thanks ABADEI for helping us have a home once again. Living under the roof with peace and not in fear.”
On 22 June this year at 1:24 am, the region of Paktika was hit with a 5.9 magnitude earthquake. Over 1,100 people were killed, and 6,000 injured, and around 10,000 homes were destroyed - around 70% of the housing stock in some areas - leaving many survivors without even basic shelter. It was the deadliest earthquake in 20 years. T
The work of reconstructing 50 homes in Norma Khan village was completed in December 2022, and the houses were officially handed over to their new owners on January 16, 2023. Each house has 2 rooms and a single corridor, and are designed using traditional local methods of construction, but engineered to withstand earthquakes. Overall, thanks to UNDP, over 150 homes were reconstructed with the help of cash grants in Paktika and Khost provinces. Additional work included training community masons on earthquake-resistant construction, building a flood protection wall and an irrigation canal to support water management for local communities, and replanting 10,000 almond trees to promote agriculture and food security. The work was carried out as part of UNDP's ABADEI project, implemented in partnership with Swedish Committee for Afghanistan. As a result 4630 households were directly supported in earthquake relief activities, 1619 of these female-led households, a total of 32,410 individuals.
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