We are devasted as we witness numerous powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquakes in Western Afghanistan, starting 8 October 2023 and then again on 15 October. All these earthquakes are hitting the same area, near the third largest city in Afghanistan, Herat.
ICM is in contact with our member association in Afghanistan, The Afghan Midwives’ Association (AMA). AMA are actively involved in the emergency response efforts. Midwives are working on the ground in Herat Regional Hospital to provide essential health services to women and families affected by the disaster, often risking their own lives. AMA is also working with other organisations including professional organisations, NGOs and relief agencies to ensure a coordinated and effective response. In addition to personnel support, AMA has provided midwives in Herat with medical supplies, equipment, Mother and Baby Kits, tents, and blankets.
For now, there are confirmation that over 2000 people have been killed in the aftermath. Critical infrastructure and homes have been damaged or destroyed, affecting or displacing thousands of people, including pregnant women and young children. We know that the work of AMA and its members during this natural disaster is vital to preserving the health and safety of pregnant women and young children in the Herat area and beyond it.
ICM will continue to coordinate with AMA to facilitate relationships and support with donors and international agencies. We stand with our fellow midwives and healthcare workers in calling for special attention to be given to actions that protect access to maternity and reproductive health infrastructure services.
Natural disasters disrupt health services, access to clean water and sanitation, making the lives of women and young children difficult and dangerous. It is crucial that we recognize and support the efforts of midwives in Afghanistan and the AMA as they continue to provide critical services to women and newborns in the aftermath of the earthquake. They deserve our gratitude, respect, and assistance in any way possible to ensure they can continue their vital work and help their communities on the path to recovery.