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SALVATION Army personnel in northern Pakistan are providing relief supplies to people who have been affected by the worst flooding in a generation. Torrential rain has led to flash floods and river surges which have devastated great swathes of northern Pakistan – particularly the Punjab, which is the country's main agricultural area. Salvation Army relief teams have been to many of the affected areas and – using funds from International Headquarters (IHQ) – 500 families in the Jhang District will receive food and cooking utensils.
WHEN a powerful earthquake brought devastation to the mountainous north of Pakistan in October 2005, The Salvation Army was one of the first organisations to arrive in the region, bringing much-needed emergency supplies.
SALVATION Army Emergency Services workers found themselves in the right place at the right time when the mountainous northern region of Pakistan which last year was hit by a massive earthquake was struck by unusually heavy monsoon rains. Home were washed away and some roads became impassable, disrupting the normal deliveries of food and other necessities.
The international Salvation Army team - in the area to supervise the ongoing response to the earthquake - was able to take much-needed supplies to a 450 families whose supplies of food had became dangerously low.
From its base in Mansehra, the Salvation Army International Emergency Services team in Pakistan continues to play a significant part in the move towards recovery for the many thousands of people affected by last October's earthquake.
The Salvation Army's International Emergency Team is back at work in some of the areas of Pakistan affected badly by last October's devastating earthquake.
Political unrest in the country led to the withdrawal of the team for a short while but Captain Mike McKee (International Headquarters Emergency Field Operations Officer) reports that the large and unpredictable demonstrations seem to be over.
The Salvation Army is putting together plans for major reconstruction work in the earthquake-affected mountain areas of north-west Pakistan. Major Cedric Hills, The Salvation Army's International Emergency Services Coordinator, has just returned from visiting the area and reports, 'It was cold, wet and pretty miserable -- and that was only in the low-lying towns at the foot of the mountains. The weather was so bad that the mountain tracks were impassable and I was unable to get up into the mountains to meet with villagers.
Final deliveries of building materials for winterised emergency shelters and other relief aid are being made before the winter weather closes in, making access to the earthquake-ravaged villages in the mountains near Balakot, Pakistan, impossible. While the race against the elements continues, The Salvation Army is already making plans for ongoing community recovery programmes once the weather breaks.
Since the earthquake struck in August, The Salvation Army has distributed well over 1,300 tents.
The full onset of winter in the earthquake-hit region of Pakistan has changed the immediate needs from the provision of tents and blankets to more substantial shelters. As before, the Pakistan army -- which has the job of overseeing the distribution and assisting the mountain villagers in construction -- is being extremely helpful in letting the Salvation Army emergency team know exactly what is required. Even so, with the weather conditions worsening, time is running out.
The Salvation Army emergency services team in Pakistan has made a further distribution of tents in the Balakot region. Two hundred tents were given out, along with some warm clothes, cereal for children, dried milk, 500 colouring books, 200 packages of crayons, 500 lead pencils, 500 erasers and 500 sharpeners.
One hundred tents were given out in the lower part of Balakot City, in conjunction with the Pakistan military, reports International Headquarters correspondent Katie Baddams.
After distributing tents in Balakot, the Salvation Army relief team moved on to Manshera, in the Bhogarmong valley, where a further 200 tents were distributed to people who were without any form of shelter. Fifty more tents were taken back to Balakot for families who missed out on the previous distribution.
The Salvation Army earthquake relief team in Pakistan - including Lieut-Colonel Cedric Sharp (Chief Secretary, Pakistan Territory) and International Emergency Services representatives Captain Macdonald Chandi and Major David Wakefield - left Islamabad on Friday 14 October to head for the northern town of Abbotabad.
A Salvation Army aid convoy is now well on its way to Abbotabad in the earthquake-stricken region of northern Pakistan. The trucks contain enough supplies to meet the immediate food and washing needs of 5,000 people (500 families). Also on board are 100 tents and 1,000 blankets. A further 500 tents will follow soon.
The Salvation Army responded swiftly to the south Asian earthquake which brought death and destruction to north-west Pakistan, India and Afghanistan by mobilising two truckloads of relief supplies ready to travel to the worst-hit region of Pakistani-controlled Kashmir as soon as the roads were cleared of rubble.
The horrific events of 11 September 2001 may no longer feature heavily in the media but the caring work of The Salvation Army continues. The search for terrorists and the bombing campaign drove many thousands of frightened Afghan families over the border to seek refuge in Pakistan. By the beginning of this year the north-west frontier town of Peshawar had become home to over 3.25 million Afghan refugees.
After consultation with the Pakistan Government, and with the support of International Headquarters, The Salvation Army has purchased two large walled compounds in Peshawar from which to serve the immediate needs of Afghan refugee families living outside formal refugee camps. Peshawar is located about 20 km east of the Khyber Pass and the Afghan border. It is the area containing the highest number of Afghan refugees, approximately three million.
THE Salvation Army in Pakistan is launching a programme to provide assistance to Afghan refugees in the border community of Peshawar in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. A team of Salvation Army officers is currently in Peshawar seeking property from which to serve the thousands of refugees not living in the established refugee camps. Technical assistance and international coordination is being provided by the International Emergency Services Office from The Salvation Army's International Headquarters in London, England.