In October 2015, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake rumbled through Afghanistan’s northeast region, killing or injuring more than 600 people and destroying thousands of homes. Nangarhar and Kunar provinces sustained the greatest damage and the highest number of causalities. With winter approaching, many earthquake survivors were left with little or no shelter.
Relief International launched a five-month winterization program in December 2015 to repair homes and support vulnerable families through the cold winter. With funding from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Relief International provided cash distribution to households affected by the earthquake, which allowed them to purchase blankets, warm clothing and fuel, and helped repair or rebuild homes for nearly 12,600 individuals.
Cash assistance programs give families the ability to repair their homes and the freedom to buy the items they need most. The cash empowered homeowners with minimal damage to meet their own needs before winter struck. Families with more significant damage often could not complete repairs before winter, and settled with extended family for the season. In these cases, cash was used to contribute to host households, including for heating and other winterization material. This program benefitted from the multi-purpose cash support, which allowed a dignified approach to allow freedom of choice with the selection of winterization items.