In the wake of the devastating earthquakes that shook Herat, Afghanistan, on 7 October 2023, Mosaic Afghanistan sprang into action, proving to be a lifeline for the affected communities.
These catastrophic events left in their wake a trail of destruction, claiming thousands of lives, injuring countless others, and reducing homes to rubble.
The situation was dire, with the most vulnerable, including women and children, bearing the brunt of the tragedy.
Mosaic swiftly initiated an Emergency Appeal for Herat Earthquake Survivors to address this humanitarian crisis.
Immediate Needs and Response
The immediate aftermath of the earthquakes presented a grim reality for the people of Herat.
They urgently needed shelter, essential supplies, food, medical aid, and a lifeline to rebuild their lives.
Mosaic recognized these pressing needs and, with unwavering commitment, took the following actions:
- Shelter: Mosaic focused on providing a secure refuge for those whose homes had been destroyed. They understood that shelter was a fundamental need in this crisis.
- Essential Supplies: Immediate access to necessities such as clean water, clothing, and hygiene products was ensured to alleviate the suffering of those affected.
- Food: To combat hunger and food insecurity, Mosaic distributed sustenance to families and individuals in dire need.
Medical Supplies: Vital healthcare resources were facilitated to treat injuries and prevent potential disease outbreaks.
Local Networks and Rapid Situation Analysis
Mosaic’s strength lies in its local networks and commitment to delivering aid effectively. A dedicated volunteer team was dispatched to assess the ground situation.
These individuals physically visited the affected areas or tapped into their local networks to provide firsthand assessments.
Based on their reports, the earthquake’s epicentre in Zinda Jan emerged as the focal point of immense destruction and casualties.
Aid organisations directed their efforts to these heavily impacted areas. In contrast, regions with lower levels of destruction received relatively less attention.
Mosaic’s Strategic Approach
In areas like Gulran, Khushk, and Injil, where houses were partially destroyed, residents faced the persistent threat of aftershocks, making it unsafe to return home.
Recognizing the urgent need for shelter, Mosaic prioritised the provision of tents in these specific areas, catering to the immediate and critical requirements of the affected populations.
Given the recent banking restrictions in Afghanistan, Mosaic launched a cash fundraising initiative using the Hawala system to address the urgency. This financial support was promptly dispatched to the team on the ground to procure tents for immediate distribution.
Procuring tents was not without its challenges. Mosaic’s on-the-ground team conducted a meticulous market analysis in Herat but encountered hurdles, including a lack of availability and high prices.
The team extended their search to Kabul to overcome these obstacles, where suitable suppliers offering acceptable quality and Cost tents were identified.
The journey from procurement to distribution incurred additional expenses, but every effort was made to ensure efficient and transparent use of funds.
The total cost for procuring and distributing 155 tents was 559,850 Afghanis (£6,290).
Distribution of Tents to Vulnerable Families
Mosaic’s commitment to equitable distribution led to a comprehensive assessment of specific villages to receive the tents.
While covering every household in each town was impossible, vulnerable families were prioritised. Names were listed, and unique needs were evaluated to ensure fairness in distribution.
The following villages received tents
- Qarabagh Village: 70 tents
- Zirgi Village: 12 tents
- Hawzcha Village: 7 tents
- Khwaja Mohammad Sharif Village: 31 tents
- Sang Kotal Village: 5 tents
- Afzal Village: 15 tents
- Shakarab Village: 15 tents
As winter approached, Mosaic recognized the need for sustainable solutions to fortify communities against harsh conditions.
Recommendations from their local team, in collaboration with other organisations on the ground, emphasised critical assistance in various areas:
- Permanent or Temporary Shelters: Durable and sustainable shelters that withstand wind and winter conditions.
- Repairing Partially Destroyed Homes: Reconstruction of houses partially damaged during the earthquake.
- Mobile Health Teams: Deployed to counter rising illness rates.
- Mental Health Support: Recognizing the psychological toll on survivors.
- Clean Water Provision: Addressing a fundamental need.
- Food Supplies: Ensuring sustained nourishment.
- Cash Transfer: Facilitating financial resilience.
Super Adobe: A Viable Solution
Recognizing the challenges of implementing proposed shelter designs in remote areas, Mosaic proposed using Super Adobe, a fast-paced, low-cost solution offering temporary and permanent shelter. This design boasts several key features:
- Rapid Construction: A room with a diameter of three and a half metres can be constructed in just fifteen days.
- Strength and Resistance: Demonstrates robust resilience against the region’s rough climate and seismic activity.
- Local Materials: Utilises readily available local materials in earthquake-stricken rural areas.
- User-Friendly: Simple and accessible, allowing locals to participate in construction actively.
- Global Standards: Meets international construction standards while remaining expandable.
- Proven Success: Adapted to various countries and successfully deployed in earthquake-stricken regions.
Basic Materials Needed for Super Adobe:
- Longitudinal Bags: 100 metres at $1.5/metre.
- Barbed Steel Wire: 80 kg at $2.5/kg.
- Soil: 18 cubic metres at $10/metre.
- Lime: 200 kg at $1/kg.
- Water: 540 litres at $0.1/litre.
- Labour Wages: 90 workers at $8/worker.
- Tools (shovel, tampers, etc.): $90.
- Total cost: $1,594.
Mosaic Afghanistan’s unwavering commitment to the people of Herat has provided hope in the darkest of times.
Their immediate response, strategic planning, and sustainable solutions have significantly impacted the road to recovery.
As they continue rebuilding lives and communities, Mosaic’s dedication shines as a beacon of hope in Herat’s aftermath of the earthquake.
Together, we can support their mission and help Herat heal and rebuild.