The rights and needs of women and girls must be at the centre of the humanitarian response to the earthquake in Afghanistan


humanitarian response to the earthquake in Afghanistan
Photo: UN Women/SayedHabibBidel.

On 22 June, at 01:30am, an earthquake of magnitude 5.9 struck the south-eastern provinces of Paktika and Khost in the Central Region of Afghanistan. Women and girls are differentially by crisis. When their freedom of movement and broader rights are restricted, as they are in Afghanistan, they are disproportionately impacted, creating further challenges for women to access aid and services.  Shortly after the earthquake, UN Women was on the ground in Paktika alongside other UN humanitarian agencies to engage directly with Afghan women and girls affected by the earthquake as well as women humanitarian workers.

The level of suffering seen in Paktika is unimaginable. Afghanistan has been experiencing emergency after emergency over the last months - the collapse of the economy, high levels of food insecurity and a women’s rights crisis unlike any in the world. When coupled with direct barriers on their rights to move and to work, women and girls are the ones most left behind when it comes to access to food, safe shelter, and healthcare.” - Alison Davidian, UN Women Representative in Afghanistan a.i.

Integrating gender – and women -- into humanitarian the response, with a focus on women’s self-reliance and empowerment, leads to better humanitarian outcomes. As we move forward, Afghan women humanitarian workers and representatives of civil society must be placed at the centre of the current response to the earthquake.

To ensure the needs and rights of at-risk and crisis-affected women and girls are adequately identified and addressed in response to the recent earthquake in Afghanistan, UN Women is:

  • Facilitating direct support, at the field level, to women and girls affected by the earthquake, including deployment of women health workers.
  • Producing regular gender analysis, assessments, and policy guidance to influence the humanitarian response.
  • Mainstreaming gender in humanitarian response mechanisms, to ensure humanitarian actors are aware of the specific needs of women and girls.
  • Providing direct support to women civil society leaders, including in ensuring they are recognized as key actors in the humanitarian response.

For more information about our work in Afghanistan, contact:

Olguta Anghel
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