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Afghanistan, an earthquake, and what earthquakes mean for women…

A 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit Afghanistan on Wednesday 22 June leaving more than 1000 dead, over 1500 injured, and 3000 homes destroyed. And with this being the worst earthquake in 20 years, the numbers are likely to rise.

At this stage, it is estimated that $15 million is needed just for immediate relief — emergency shelter, food, water, and sanitation. And even then, efforts have been disrupted due to telecommunications issues and poor weather conditions.

Afghanistan was already in the midst of a dire humanitarian situation. And we are ten months into Taliban rule, where women’s lives are being erased. This recent crisis has only compounded matters.

As if we needed another tragedy to remind the world that Afghanistan exists — and still needs support.

Afghanistan is only on the map when the news is bad. Meanwhile, the country has suffered multiple protracted crises for decades. In August of 2021, the Taliban reclaimed power and the US and international donors cut off funding to the country. Here’s the result: nearly 23 million people are suffering from extreme levels of hunger, with nine million at risk of famine. Millions are out of work and those still employed haven’t been paid.

And women… they’ve suffered immeasurably. After two decades and promises of freedom, women’s rights have been rolled back drastically. Families have been forced to sell their daughters in order to survive. This only scratches the surface.

This earthquake reminds me of Haiti. And Nepal. And what earthquakes do to women and girls.

How can a natural disaster discriminate against women? Don’t these tragedies affect everyone equally? Nope.

I’ll explain… go here for details:

I know this because I work in humanitarian emergencies — conflicts, natural disasters — the messy stuff in the world. And in the midst of that messy stuff, I work on preventing and responding to sexual violence — or trying to, anyway.

Here’s what I know:

Right after a war, or a natural disaster, in the midst of all that chaos — law and order, support and services, community networks — all these things are damaged and destroyed.

At the moment you’d expect us all to stick together — we don’t. At those times, sexual violence actually increases.

So — when we think the emergency is over — for women it is actually just beginning.

It is true for Haiti, for Nepal, for the Tsunami, for Hurricane Katrina, and now for Afghanistan. And many other tragedies in between.

So what are we going to do about it?!

My good friend, Afghanistan expert Sippi Azarbaijani-Moghaddam breaks it down for us. Head here:

How can we help?!

Yes, we’ve got a lot of competing tragedies these days. The world feels unusually full of crap. But will we gawk in horror for a media-moment, shake our heads, and move on to the next big thing? Or will we focus our attention briefly, channeling some empathy and ultimately some action? I’m opting for the latter. If that’s your plan too, head here:

For the latest developments in the country, follow:

  1. Rukshana media

  2. Sippi Azarbaijani-Moghaddam

  3. Yalda Hakim

  4. Heather Barr

For earthquake relief and support, see:

  1. Afghan Red Crescent Society

  2. MSF

  3. CARE

For general support for Afghanistan, start with:

  1. Swedish Committee for Afghanistan

  2. PenPath

For what’s happening with Afghan women, go here:

  1. Afghan Institute of Learning

  2. Women for Afghan Women

  3. Women for Women International

  4. Women’s Regional Network

#Activism #GenderEquality #Women #Afghanistan #Feminism #Earthquake #WomensRights #VAW #ViolenceAgainstWomen #GBV

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