UNICEF launches US$ 20 million appeal to support 96,000 children affected by recent earthquakes in western Afghanistan

Over the next three months, life-saving humanitarian assistance will reach over 200,000 people – including 96,000 children – living in the most devastated and vulnerable areas of Herat province.

12 October 2023
On 11th October 2023, the UNICEF-supported health clinic, established as part of the earthquake response, in Karnil Wardaka village, Zinda Jan District, Herat Province, western Afghanistan. The original health centre was badly damaged in the earthquake and can be seen in the background.
A girl and her father visit a temporary health centre, established in a UNICEF tent following the devastating earthquake a few days prior. The original health centre sits damaged behind it.

KABUL, 12 October 2023 – Over 90 per cent of those reported killed in Afghanistan’s recent earthquakes are women and children. In Zinda Jan district alone, over 11,500 people saw their homes completely flattened.

With two 6.3-magnitude quakes shaking the region over just five days, and over 1,000 people killed1, there are thousands more in need of urgent, life-saving assistance.

UNICEF launched a funding appeal on Wednesday for an initial $20 million, which includes:

  • First aid, emergency and trauma care for newborns, children, adolescents, and women in both urban health facilities and through mobile health teams.
  • Oral rehydration points to prevent or respond to outbreaks of acute watery diarrhoea, exacerbated by damaged or destroyed water systems.
  • Rehabilitating WASH facilities in schools and healthcare facilities.
  • Screening and treating children affected by malnutrition.
  • Family hygiene kits, containing bars of soap, laundry and bathing soap, and other personal hygiene items. Alongside hygiene promotion, this will also mitigate the risk of disease outbreaks.
  • Cash assistance for 1,400 households in Zinda Jan, the most affected district in Herat province.
  • Psychosocial support for traumatized children and their parents, through newly established child-friendly spaces, and increasing the number of social workers.
  • Temporary learning spaces to ensure education can continue while UNICEF conducts assessments on damaged school buildings.

With winter approaching and temperatures expected to drop well below freezing, UNICEF is extremely concerned about children and their well-being in the next few months.

“Even before the earthquake, these communities were already suffering the effects of conflict and insecurity, migration, drought, displacement, and poverty,” says Rushnan Murtaza, acting UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan. “These deprivations have now collided, creating an unprecedented humanitarian emergency for children. UNICEF and our partners have been on the ground since day one, providing life-saving assistance for children, but we need additional support to bring children the healthcare, protection, and clean water they desperately need.”

Funding through this appeal will allow UNICEF to implement the 3-month Earthquake Response Plan targeting 200,000 people, including 96,000 children in the most affected districts.

To help UNICEF bring life-saving aid to children affected by the earthquake, or click here to donate.

1OCHA Flash Update #3, 10 October 2023


Media contacts

Daniel Timme
Chief, Communication & Advocacy
UNICEF Afghanistan
Tel: +93 799 987 110
Sabrina Sidhu
Communication Specialist, Media
UNICEF South Asia
Tel: +91 98187 17522


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. 

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in Afghanistan, visit https://www.unicef.org/afghanistan/