iMMAP Inc.'s Rapid Response to the Afghanistan’s Herat Earthquake

Reported deaths and injuries are in the thousands. Homes at the quake epicenter were reduced to rubble.

The Herat Province, one of the most densely populated and fertile agricultural areas, situated in western Afghanistan was devastated by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake on October 7, 2023.  The inhabitants of Zindajan District, the epicenter of the Herat earthquake, were rendered homeless, as the quake reduced every single house in the district to rubble.  This district alone witnessed over 1,482 fatalities, highlighting it as the worst-affected area. The quake not only caused extensive physical destruction but also deepened the humanitarian crisis in a region already facing significant socio-economic challenges. 

A damaged house in Herat Province. ©iMMAP Inc, October 2023. 

Throughout the province, the broader western region, and from the capital Kabul, various humanitarian actors were rapidly escalating their efforts to provide critical support to quake victims. Following the initial assessment, iMMAP Inc. mobilized a rapid response, dispatching two highly skilled Information Management Officers (IMOs) to the impacted region. These IMOs embarked on a critical mission, employing advanced and standardized data collection methodologies to meticulously gather essential information. Their focus was not just on quantifying the damage and assessing immediate needs, but also on understanding the nuanced dynamics of the affected communities.  

The IMOs were initially deployed for three weeks, but due to their effective contribution to the earthquake response and the need for their continued support in the field, their deployment was extended for another three weeks, for a total of six weeks from October 12 to November 23, 2023.

"During this mission in Herat, our IM support helped OCHA coordinate the humanitarian response. Based on the data we analyzed, OCHA refined the Multi-Sectoral Rapid Assessment Form and prepared the response plan for the affected area and population." Tamim (real name withheld for privacy reason), iMMAP Inc. deployee

Tents where iMMAP Inc. personnel worked amid aftershocks and safety risk. ©iMMAP Inc. October, 2023 

While the IMOs from iMMAP Inc. have concluded their on-site mission, their commitment to aiding the recovery efforts remains steadfast. They are set to continue offering vital support to OCHA and other collaborating partners remotely, maintaining their engagement through the end of the year. Concurrently, the dedicated iMMAP Inc. team based in Kabul has been actively responding to the evolving Information Management needs stemming from the earthquake's aftermath. This team has been instrumental in not only addressing, but proactively anticipating the requirements of various clusters and working groups, consistently delivering, and refining a range of customized, data-driven products to aid in the ongoing response and recovery efforts. 

Afghanistan, with its rugged terrain and intricate socio-political fabric, is acutely susceptible to natural calamities. The earthquake in Herat has starkly underscored the region's vulnerability, revealing not only the immediate need for robust humanitarian aid but also foreshadows the profound long-term challenges ahead, especially with the harsh winter looming. 

About iMMAP Inc. Afghanistan  

iMMAP Inc. is an international not-for-profit organization. Funded by USAID, iMMAP INC. has been actively engaged in Afghanistan since 2007, delivering Information Management (IM) products and support to key partners involved in disaster risk reduction and humanitarian response. For more information, 

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