CRS reaches more than 50,000 people in Pakistan, India -- Response among most timely, far-reaching
CRS Sets Up Field Offices, Commits $2 Million
Within hours of the earthquake, CRS was conducting vital needs assessments in some of the most devastated areas. Within days, CRS had set up four field offices and was distributing immediate relief items, including plastic sheeting, water cans, kitchen sets and heavy blankets.
CRS has committed more than $2 million for their South Asian earthquake response. Shelter and materials suitable for the harsh mountain winter remain a priority, along with water and sanitation, given the destruction of sanitation facilities and piped water sources. While no major outbreaks of disease have been reported, there has been a rise in the incidence of skin diseases and diarrhea in children.
In Pakistan, CRS has field offices in Manserha, Shangla and Besham. In India, CRS and its partner Caritas India set up a field office in Baramulla.
Pakistan Response Update
CRS Provides Winterized Tents to 25,000, Supplies to More than 50,000
Just this week in Pakistan, CRS distributed heavy winterized tents to shelter more than 25,000 people, and is expecting tents for another 30,000 people to arrive soon. In addition, CRS has provided vital supplies to tens of thousands of people over the past two weeks. More than 50,000 people so far have received plastic sheeting for extra protection, kitchen sets, water cans, heavy blankets and quilts.
To compensate for a shortage of tents in the country, CRS has prepared a design for transitional winterized shelters. The structures are based on the availability and use of local materials. CRS will begin construction within the week.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
CRS is also conducting assessments to begin repairing water and sanitation systems in the villages in week. CRS has also designed hygiene kits for distribution.
CRS and partners are assessing the extent of damage to public and private primary schools. Half of the of schools in rural villages have been destroyed beyond repair. Added to this challenge is that parents have expressed anxiety about sending their children back to school. It is estimated that 18,000 children and 850 teachers died in the earthquake.
CRS is prioritizing Shangla and Batagram for immediate attention. In Manshera and Kohistan districts, a long winter recess is the norm and school may only resume in mid-February. CRS has secured school-size winterized tents from the U.S. government's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and from Caritas Austria that will go a long way to help schools resume without delay.
India Response Update
Medical Teams, Relief Packages, Education Reach More than 10,000
In India, CRS has distributed emergency relief packages to more than 10,000 people across 11 mountaintop villages. The relief package includes four blankets, two tarps, one quilt, one mattress, one bucket, a kitchen utensil set, and a 10-day food basket. To respond to the needs of traumatized children, CRS' team of volunteers has conducted art and play therapy.
CRS and its partners also manage three mobile medical teams -- comprised of doctor, nurse, and social worker volunteers -- which have treated more than 3,500 patients. According to the medical teams, women make up the majority seeking medical assistance given their typically rare access to facilities far from their homes.
CRS is also planning to:
Provide health services, particularly for women and children, to 4,000 families
Organize educational and recreational activities for 5,000 children
Supply transitional shelter and means for water and sanitation to 1,000 families
How CRS Conducts Assessments
As long as weather permits, CRS will continue targeting remote mountain villages along affected valleys in order to reach the greatest number of the most vulnerable communities. CRS and partners teams typically walk upwards of two hours to reach these villages for assessment. Distributions are then organized at the closest accessible location.
CRS and local partners' are currently conducting village assessments of conditions before and after the earthquake, current coping strategies and priorities. These rapid assessments, based on a combination of direct observation and focus-group interviews, are followed by house-to-house registration of affected families for shelter assistance.
What Survivors are Telling CRS
Many people living in isolated hill top villages tell CRS that, despite the devastation of everything around them and the threat of a cold winter, they prefer to stay on or near their homes rather than move to lower elevations.