Progress report from our team on the ground: Pakistan and India relief 20 Feb 2006
The disaster in Pakistan is one of the toughest challenges ever faced by the international community. As many as 2.8 million people have been left homeless by this devastating tragedy which claimed the lives of over 73,000 people, and many are in areas which remain difficult to reach. Snow is making life cold and miserable for the survivors.
GOAL is working around the clock to bring essential relief supplies to communities in Kashmir, during the harsh Himalayan winter.
GOAL's emergency operations are based in the district of Bagh one of the worst affected areas where over 95% of homes were destroyed. Our team of 20 GOALies are providing essential emergency supplies to almost 100,000 people - representing 13,272 families.
So far, our emergency shelter programme has distributed over 2,000 winterised tents, almost 82,000 plastic sheeting and galvanised steel, as well as 70,000 blankets and sleeping bags.
An additional shipment of 60,000 corrugated iron sheets are currently being distributed, on top of a further larger distribution in the previous 3 weeks. An additional consignment of tarpaulins is expected to benefit a further 2,270 families. This material has a multi-purpose use as insulation for shelters, windshields, flooring and cover of livestock.
Information leaflets have been printed for distribution to households which have constructed their own shelter to outline possible improvements which can be made to basic shelter to make them more comfortable, and foul weather resistant using basic cheap and available materials.
All villages above 5,000 ft now have one month's food ration. As well as this, GOAL continues to distribute food to families which includes wheat, pulses, oil, salt, dates and high energy biscuits. Roads are posing the biggest threat to getting the food to the vulnerable, the rain is causing numerous landslides and road shoulders are continually falling away.
Voucher system GOAL's voucher system has commenced which targets 10,000 families, where each household receives vouchers of $100 dollars to enable them to supplement their shelter kits with items of their choice.
GOAL's cash-for-work programme encourage local communities to clear rubble from roads and drains, and repair district administration bulldozers, by paying them a wage. These schemes give survivors flexibility to address their own needs, while stimulating the economy.
GOAL is working closely with the Ministry of Education in the rehabilitation of about 70 to 100 schools before mid April, having had much success with a similar initiative in the wake of the tsunami in Sri Lanka. We have already constructed the first sample classroom and are in negotiations with each school in the village on basic furniture, teaching and learning materials and other supports which they require.
GOAL is supporting livelihood recovery programmes for survivors by providing them with an asset recovery project. These projects provide 100 teams of carpenters with tools, who will in turn use the equipment to build shelters for the most vulnerable families in the communities, and rehabilitate the region's devastated schools.
Earthquake engineering training programs
In conjunction with GOAL's earthquake engineer, we have initiated training programmes for key group of 45 from local communities, to increase their awareness of earthquake resistant techniques. Physical examples of each type of construction are being practiced, and models are on view to assist with learning. To date 146 masons, carpenters and steel fixers and 67 self builders self contractors, have received the training, as well as some 147 women.
GOAL is also involved with supporting the capacity building of the civil authority by establishing a database for the authority to input earthquake specific and general district administration data.
On the Indian-controlled side of Kashmir, GOAL worked with our long-term local partner CINI, and provided much-needed emergency shelter and warm clothing to survivors of the earthquake.
GOAL is proud to have been one of three international aid agencies recently invited to meet President Bush at The White House earlier this month, to discuss our work in Pakistan - testament to the US Government's high regard for GOAL's work.
GOAL believes in keeping its cost base as low as possible, and is proud to have kept administration costs at an average of 5% over a 29 year period. Once again, thank you so much for your donation.
General overview (as at Feb 20, 2006)
- In Pakistan, the earthquake left 73,331 dead, 69,392 seriously injured and 2.8 million people without shelter. Over 206,000 displaced persons are estimated to be in self-settled and official camps throughout NWFP and AJK. (Pakistani Government). - Recent snowfalls have dramatically hampered relief efforts, blocking roads and forcing aid workers to resort to work on foot only. TEMPERATURES Minimum -2 to 20=B0C in plain areas over/around Islamabad, 2=B0C in Muzaffarabad, but as low as -2 to -4=B0C in the highest villages. Please note that there are unusually high temperatures at the moment. This could change very rapidly.
- To date, in total 800,000 tents, 240,000 shelters, 5 million blankets, and 5 million sheets of corrugated iron have been provided to people displaced by the earthquake.
- The Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that it is still short of $200 million for its initial appeal.
- A joint survey undertaken by UN agencies, IOM, the Government of Pakistan and NGO's has indicated that 74% of families below 5,000 feet in NWFP and Pakistan Administrated Kashmir live in shelter that is deemed inadequate. Also a shortage of blankets remains. Urgent needs are 4 million blankets or 1.2 million quilts were needed. 170,000 good quality plastic sheets were needed urgently to cover tents and 200,000 tarpaulins for tent floors.
- Health: Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI) continues to contribute significantly to the overall consultations in the earthquake affected districts. A total of 24,134 ARI cases and six related deaths were reported. A total of 4,772 acute diarrhea (AWD) cases were reported with an increase in the number of reported cases compared to the previous week. Fifteen cases of clinically diagnosed measles were reported. (WHO)