Afghan women face further hardships in wake of deadly quakes

Women in Afghanistan are said to be disproportionately affected by deadly earthquakes that hit the country one month ago.

The two magnitude-6.3 quakes struck western Afghanistan on October 7. The Taliban interim government said more than 1,000 people were killed and over 2,000 others were injured.

In the hardest-hit province of Herat, many evacuees are still living in tents or other temporary structures. Local authorities are ramping up efforts to build houses ahead of the country's harsh winter.

UNICEF said almost 90 percent of those killed in the earthquakes were women and children.

The agency UN Women said the quakes had "devastating impacts" on women in Afghanistan, where "women's rights including their freedom to move has been so significantly curtailed."

The agency said women in the country were "trapped inside their homes as a result of increasing restrictions" under the Taliban, which seized power in 2021.

Citing a report from the affected areas, the agency said many women and girls "lacked safe access to latrines." It also said, "Women first responders and health workers in Herat's regional hospital have highlighted insufficient food, soap, underwear, and menstrual hygiene products."

The report warned that woman-headed households may not be able to receive assistance because they don't have a "man who can access services on their behalf." It also noted that women and girls "could not obtain information on earthquake preparedness due to restrictions imposed on their rights and mobility."