Mission East intends to prevent disease among 4,000 Afghans af-fected by a major earthquake

Mission East hands out hygiene items to 500 families in northern Afghanistan, where latrines and water supply were damaged or destroyed by the massive earthquake on 26 October.

The Danish aid organisation Mission East is now helping 500 families in the devastated Badakhshan province in northern Afghanistan. The province was already ravaged by battles between the Taliban and Afghan government forces when a violent earthquake hit the area Monday afternoon on 26 October. The epicentre of the earthquake, which measured 7.5 on the Richter scale, was in the Badakhshan province and could be felt in India, Tajikistan and Pakistan.

The preliminary figures for Badakhshan show that eight people were killed and 63 wounded when the earthquake caused 4,219 houses to collapse. A further 2,700 houses were damaged. These figures continue to be updated as Mission East and other aid organisations arrive in the villages that are difficult to access.

When earthquakes hit, water pipes and wells are damaged, resulting in the population drinking water that may be contaminated. When the latrines are damaged, the population is forced to relieve themselves outdoors. All this may lead to the spread of disease.

This is why Mission East is now coming to the aid of 500 large families in Badakhshan province with water containers for storing pure drinking water, as well as boxes of hygiene items that include soap, washing-up liquid, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, sanitary towels and towels.

With an average of eight people in each large family, around 4,000 people will benefit from the boxes of hygiene items, which also include a reminder to wash their hands after going to the toilet and before cooking, as well as keeping toilet areas and domestic animals separate from sources of drinking water. All of this is intended to prevent disease.

This immediate help effort is financed by DKK 170,000 from Mission East’s humanitarian partnership agreement with the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is Mission East’s intention to hand out more boxes of hygiene items and help to find shelter for the many earthquake victims.

Mission East has an office in the town of Baharak close to the epicentre of the earthquake and can quickly provide help. The organisation’s office and employees did not suffer damage or injuries during the earthquake worth mentioning.

Mission East has offered emergency aid in Afghanistan since 2001, where the aid organisation works in the provinces of Baghlan, Takhar and Badakhshan, which are in the north-eastern part of the country. The aid organisation works on establishing water systems, building passable roads and supports sustainable agriculture in the area. At the same time, people are trained to work the land with resilient crops and to manage and prevent natural disasters. Mission East’s activity counteracts poverty and helps people who are victims of conflicts.