A man carries relief material in the earthquake-hit Zenda Jan district of Herat, Afghanistan, 12 October 2023. EFE/EPA/FILE/SAMIULLAH POPAL

Afghanistan promises thousands of homes after earthquakes amid criticism over lack of aid

Kabul, Oct 18 (EFE).- The de facto government in Afghanistan announced Wednesday it will build thousands of homes for the victims of the series of earthquakes that recently rocked the country, leaving more than a thousand dead, amid criticism over the lack of relief measures from the authorities.

“2,146 houses will be built in 20 villages of Zinda Jan district of Herat province (west) for the earthquake victims,” the Taliban government’s Disaster Management Ministry Mulla Janan Sayeq told EFE.

The imminent arrival of winter threatens to leave tens of thousands of people out in the open, including those who have lost their homes and those who are afraid to return to their homes for fear of further aftershocks.

On Oct.7, this Afghan region was rocked by several earthquakes of up to 6.3 magnitude, and successive aftershocks of considerable intensity that left some 20 villages destroyed.

The earthquakes continued throughout the week, the latest of them last Sunday with a magnitude of 6.5.

The Taliban’s chief spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid, in a statement, underlined efforts to secure aid before the onset of winter in Afghanistan.

Some 66,000 people have been affected in the affected province, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Moreover, the lack of aid and relief efforts on the ground by the government has sparked criticism among those affected.

“The government has no plan for us,” Abdul Qayoum, 29, who lost seven members of his family in a village in the district of Zindah Jan told EFE.

Concerned by the drop in temperatures, Qayoum said strong winds destroyed the tents in which residents have been sleeping after the destruction caused by the earthquakes.

One of the doctors at the Herat regional hospital, Ijaz ul Haq Haqyar, revealed to EFE that a large number of children have been hospitalized in recent days from living outdoors for almost two weeks.

“Most children suffer from common colds,” Haqyar explained, adding that it also affects those older.

Shahnaz told EFE that his grandmother died from a cold in one of the parks in Herat, where the whole family has been living since the first earthquake.

“Yesterday we took her to the hospital, and the doctors also examined her in the park. She caught a common cold and unfortunately died today in the park,” he said. EFE