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The Effects of Earthquakes on Developing Communities

Despite not being the country with the most earthquakes, Afghanistan has suffered a deadly earthquake in recent weeks. The effects of natural disasters can be detrimental to even the most developed of countries, but they’re especially damaging to communities that are already experiencing hardship. The recent Afghanistan earthquake is responsible for the deaths of thousands, as well as the injuries of many more.

It's no secret that earthquakes can destroy settlements and kill citizens, with aftershocks being just as damaging. Despite this, there are many factors to consider as far as the effects of earthquakes on developing communities are concerned. These include both immediate and long-term effects, as well as social, economic, and environmental impacts.

In an appeal for your support, Muslim Aid details the impacts of earthquakes on developing communities, such as Afghanistan.

Immediate Social Impacts

Perhaps the most obvious effects of earthquakes are their immediate impact on people. This refers to individuals being injured or killed, and settlements being completely destroyed. Other short-term impacts include the disruption of communication and transport links, as well as damaged water pipes, which can result in contamination.

If these immediate effects weren’t damaging enough, they inevitably contribute to an array of long-term impacts. As a result, if someone manages to escape the initial consequences of an earthquake, the aftereffects are sure to catch up with them. Your support is needed more than ever to help combat impacts of all types.

Long-Term Social Impacts

As previously mentioned, burst water pipes can lead to a contaminated water supply, which can result in waterborne diseases. Due to medical facilities undergoing strain, treatment for these diseases is virtually non-existent, meaning people will ultimately die from the infection.

Additionally, the destruction of homes leads to widespread homelessness, meaning that affected individuals are forced to take up residence in refugee camps. The crowded nature of these spaces only contributes to the spread of diseases, further adding to the number of fatalities. Similarly, food and water supply in these camps are sparse, resulting in dehydration and starvation.

Immediate Economic Impacts

Earthquakes don’t only destroy the physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of local communities, but also damage their financial wellbeing. The destruction of businesses and shops is unavoidable and, if this wasn’t devastating enough, it can encourage looting. Furthermore, the damage to communication and transport links makes trading immensely difficult, which also contributes to the long-term economic impacts.

Often, employment in Afghanistan only facilitates someone to live the most basic of existence. Their income doesn’t allow for three nutritious meals a day, never mind the complete rebuilding of their premises. Earthquakes in developing communities only exacerbate the struggles that are already running rife.

Long-Term Economic Impacts

As previously mentioned, those who lose their businesses and shops to earthquakes typically don’t have the financial means of rebuilding them. As a result, they’re left unemployed, which leads to them becoming homeless, thirsty, and hungry. They are left with no choice but to reside in overcrowded refugee camps, where they have little access to food and water, and disease is rife.

The people of Afghanistan are already used to a life of poverty and scarcity, but earthquakes mean that they’re stripped of even the most basic necessities. Prior to the recent earthquake, Afghans were just about surviving; however, the aftereffects have made the chances of survival a lot slimmer.

Immediate Environmental Impacts

In addition to destroying the built landscape, earthquakes can cause gas pipe explosions that result in fires, which can consequently damage woodland areas. Similarly, significant amounts of rock and earth can collapse from cliffs or mountains; this is otherwise known as a landslide. It goes without saying that the impact of each of these can be deathly, either severely injuring residents or even killing them – especially those in rural areas.

One saving grace of Afghanistan is that it’s a landlocked country, meaning that earthquakes won’t result in tsunamis that can be responsible for the drowning of many. Despite this, tsunamis are an object of concern in coastal areas in the instance that an earthquake occurs.

Long-Term Environmental Impacts

Not only can the immediate environmental effects result in the deaths of innocent people, but they can also destroy important landmarks. This can be particularly upsetting for a country like Afghanistan, as the nation is extremely religious. Should Islamic infrastructure be destroyed as a result of an earthquake, this can be devastating to many. In fact, for struggling individuals, religion is often the only thing that they have to rely on. Ultimately, earthquakes can strip people of the minimal shreds of hope that they hold onto in times of need.

Help Afghanistan Combat the Effects of Earthquakes with Muslim Aid

The recent earthquake in Afghanistan has devastated an area that was already suffering from poverty, famine, and war. Please, donate what you can to save lives in Afghanistan. 

We are a faith-based British international charity that provides help to people who are victims of natural disasters or conflict or suffering from poverty, hunger, disease, homelessness, injustice, deprivation or lack of skills and economic opportunities.

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