Operation Air Quake Afghanistan

6 June 1998 - 3 July 1998
Military personnel

During the night of 4-5 February 1998, an earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale struck the northeastern Afghan province of Takhar. The quake claimed the lives of 4.500 people. The rescue effort in this desolate area was hampered even further by heavy snowstorms and bitter cold.

Less than 4 months later, in the morning of May 30, the people of Takhar were rocked by yet another earthquake. This 2nd quake, measuring 6.9, caused massive devastation in the districts of Rustaq, Chah Ab and Shar-i-Buzurg and some 5.000 people were killed. Around a 100 villages were destroyed and some 70.000 people were made homeless.


The international relief effort swung into action fairly swiftly, coordinated by the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan. Finland, Denmark, Switzerland and the Netherlands supplied not only funding and equipment but also, at the request of the UN, specialist personnel.