EU to send Afghanistan €1 million in aid after earthquake

The European Union is allocating €1 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, in response to a deadly earthquake that hit the country on Wednesday.

The ruling Taliban — a hard-line Islamist group which took over by force as Western allies exited Afghanistan in August 2021 — has called for international aid, as it struggles to manage the aftermath of the disaster.

More than 1,000 people have been killed and at least 1,500 injured in the 5.9 magnitude earthquake — the deadliest to strike Afghanistan in 20 years. The death toll is expected to rise further in the coming days.

The EU funding will be implemented by humanitarian groups who are active in the country, including non-governmental organizations and the United Nations, the European Commission’s humanitarian aid department announced in a statement Thursday.

“Our trusted humanitarian partners will deliver the aid to those most affected. The EU stands ready to provide further assistance,” European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič said.

The funding will be used to address the “most immediate needs” of Afghans, such as medical assistance, water, sanitation and hygiene services, shelter, and protection services.

António Guterres, United Nations secretary-general, said in a statement Wednesday, that the U.N. is “fully mobilized” in Afghanistan. “Our teams are already on the ground assessing the needs and providing initial support,” he said.