Afghanistan: Earthquake Response Lessons Learnt Exercise Final Report

Publication language
Date published
20 Feb 2023
Impact evaluation
Earthquakes, Response and recovery

In the early hours of 22 June 2022, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck, affecting Paktika and Khost Provinces, over 1,000 people were killed (including 230 children) and over 2,900 injured (including 591 children). The earthquake destroyed critical infrastructure – including homes, facilities, schools and water networks – leaving areas that were already highly vulnerable before the earthquake, vulnerable to additional risks. Following assessments by Humanitarian partners over 100,000 people were identified to need of humanitarian assistance, of which 18 per cent were considered vulnerable, including female-headed households, people with disabilities, those chronically ill, unaccompanied minors and elderly people, and families with more than eight people in the household. Khost and Paktika provinces highly vulnerable prior to the crisis, facing crisis levels of food insecurity and malnutrition as well as an AWD outbreak.

First responders on the ground, including the authorities, affected communities and humanitarian partners, launched an immediate response to the Earthquake with available supplies. Within 24 hours following the earthquake UN and NGO partners mobilised response efforts, with trucks of supplies on the roads headed to communities. By 30 June, just eight days after the Earthquake, the Emergency Earthquake Response Plan was launched requesting US$ 110 million to cover the emergency needs from July to September 2022. Initially, the plan targeted 362,000 people, based on available data at the time, this was later revised to reflect the on-ground information from joint assessments teams to 100,000 people assessed to be in need. Thanks to the generosity of the donor community, by 31 October 2022 the emergency response effort had received US$ 44 million. By the end of the emergency phase, September 2022, over 515,000 people had been reached with one form of Humanitarian assistance in Earthquake affected areas.

Recovery initiatives and sectoral-specific interventions have continued in the second phase of the response effort. Following the emergency response phase, the HCT requested a Lessons Learnt Review. In light of the change in Afghanistan’s context over the past year, the evaluation team was tasked to look at the system’s ability to scale up to sudden-onset emergency events and the preparedness planning in place to support future emergencies. Afghanistan remains highly vulnerable to natural disasters, including seasonal flooding, landslides and earthquakes. Due to the country’s pre-existing vulnerabilities, the review aims to look at the systems currently in place to respond to these sudden events and proposed recommendations for future sudden-onset emergencies in Afghanistan. A task team was formed at the beginning of November made up of representatives from UN Agencies, NGOs and Assessment and Analysis team members. The task team provided technical support to the Earthquake Lessons Learnt Review, helping to review the data coming from various sources and generating key recommendations for the HCTs' consideration to help the system to be better prepared for future sudden onset emergencies. The following report outlines the review process, key findings and recommendations presented to the HCT.