13 Oct Urgent Update from our RAWA (Revolutionary Association Of The Women Of Afghanistan) Sisters
RAWA relief team in the earthquake affected areas of Herat
On October 7, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 on the Richter scale shook several districts of Heratو the Western province in Afghanistan. These villages belonged to the poorest and most destitute farmers, daily waged workers, and displaced families who had settled in these deserts and built mud-houses with empty hands and a lot of suffering and hardship. The reason for the irreparable damage is that most of these houses were made of mud without standards and were weak against earthquakes, so in the blink of an eye, a large area collapsed on top of its residents.
Such natural disasters happen anywhere in the world, but in our deprived and fraternal land, it clearly shows that the heads of corrupt and treacherous government leaders by looting the people have reached all possible means for prosperity, safety, and wealth while the majority of our masses do not have access to the most basic means of livelihood. They have no benefit from having a school, hospital, road, and other human manifestations, and are trying hard to survive and provide food for their family by working from morning to evening in exhausting conditions inside Afghanistan or in neighboring Iran.
The horrible and terrifying scenes of these days in Herat are a nightmare and a full-view mirror of the corruption and robbery of past governments and the incompetence of the ignorant Taliban. The leaders of the Taliban Emirate, exactly like the past Karzai-Ghani regimes, visited the affected area by planes like tourists but there were not enough machines and vehicles for helping those in rebels. Like always it was only the farmers, daily wage earners, and even travelers from neighboring villages who reached to the help of their afflicted countrymen with empty hands.
The pain and suffering of the survivors who are still at risk of more aftershocks cannot be expressed with any words or pictures. The women and children of these villages have suffered the most; the number of female victims is much higher than that of men. Many injured or homeless women who have lost their shelters and male relatives are not even willing to leave the hospital. Most of the large families have only one or two or even no survivors. Countless women whose husbands were living in Iran were not able to save themselves and their children. There are also women who are pregnant or very close to their due dates, but they have no helpers. Those who have survived safely, on one hand, are suffering from the loss of their loved ones, and on the other hand, they have to endure the lack of basic facilities for rescue or provision of food and shelter in the cold autumn nights. Not to mention the mental state and anxiety that have affected every single resident, especially children and women. For sure, the few words of a man who lost his entire family is the answer of the many disappointed survivors. While speaking to the press, the man said that he does not need anything but only one bullet to end his life!!
The relief team of “Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan” (RAWA), upon receiving information about the loss of life and huge damages as a result of this devastating earthquake, rushed to the area and started providing assistance.
This group of women was able to reach the area as one of the first relief teams and covered three severely damaged villages. They distributed aid packages that included blankets and other urgent and necessary items to those in need – especially women and children.
RAWA relief team, understanding these difficult conditions and upcoming winter, is eager to continue its assistance regularly for the coming months. The three villages that have received these aids are located in remote areas around Zindajan district center and are connected to Herat city by damaged roads. The people of these villages have not enjoyed the least governmental services or the attention of the press. The survivors spend terrible nights and days and have known that they should not expect Taliban Emirate to meet their needs. Even though our team only had the facilities to provide very limited and basic help, still many women hugged our team members and said that we rushed to save them like angels.
Despite the limited facilities and overcoming various challenges, the continuation of such programs for a long time is considered an urgent need.