People in Need supports earthquake affected families in the conflict prone Afghan province of Paktya

Published: Nov 24, 2015 Reading time: 3 minutes
People in Need supports earthquake affected families in the conflict prone Afghan province of Paktya
© Gabir Asadullah

On 26 October a 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit the capital of Badakhshan province in Afghanistan. More than 12 provinces were affected by the deadly quake all the way from the epicenter in the north east to the eastern province of Paktya bordering Pakistan. People in Need (PIN) has been working in Paktya for more than 5 years carrying out emergency response for flash floods, harsh winters and conflict.

The emergency response mechanism is funded by the European Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO). When the earthquake hit many of the affected districts were suffering from local conflicts which limited the access for humanitarian interventions.

“Due to PIN’s long presence in the areas we have built a relationship, with the communities, that is based on mutual respect and acceptance we managed to get through the high quality interventions that are being carried out,” says Zahra Mahsud, People in Need’s coordinator of humanitarian aid in Afghanistan. “This year alone PIN has supported over 1000 families affected by conflict or natural disasters with the help of ECHO. 180 of them were here in Paktya,” she adds.

One disaster rarely comes alone

The earthquake had devastating consequences for a family from Said Karam. Their home collapsed during the earthquake. “By sheer luck my family was outside at the time of the earthquake and no one got hurt,” says Fadil Mir, who lives in Said Karam with his wife and six children. “We lost everything to the earthquake and with the winter approaching resources are limited,” explains Fadil. PIN provided the family with emergency cash assistance to cover their food needs for a month until they recover from the quake. That way Fadil does not have to worry about finding income to feed his six children. “My current job is to find daily labour to support family. With the assistance from PIN, I can focus on rebuilding my shelter so the family can get a roof over their heads,” says Fadil.

For PIN it is extremely important to listen to the voice of the beneficiaries when it comes to identifying their needs and their perception of the help that they are receiving. For Fadil the main priority was food for his family and he has received guidance in how to use the complaint mechanism that PIN’s has been running for the last two years. It’s a hotline where beneficiaries can give feedback on the projects that they are included in. “We have many phone calls coming in thanking for the emergency response that the local communities are receiving. It is a confirmation that we do help even with the limited resources that we have to better the dire situations people are living in e.g. in Paktya where one disaster rarely comes alone,” Zahra Mahsud concludes.

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*Names of people have been changed in the article for security reasons

Autor: Petr Stefan, PIN Communication Officer