India + 2 more

MapAction volunteers fly to Islamabad to assist with the Humanitarian Crisis resulting from the devastating earthquake that hit Pakistan, India and Afghanistan on 8 October

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Over 20,000 people are feared dead and more than 42,000 have been injured when a severe earthquake hit areas of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan early on 8 October. The epicentre of the quake, which measured 7.6 on the Richter scale, was some 95 kilometres north of Pakistan's capital city Islamabad. Several villages have been completely destroyed, and countless others have been severely damaged.

MapAction volunteers Nigel Woof and Nick McWilliam flew to Islamabad on the evening of the 8 October and have been asked by the UN to provide spatial information support within the UN On-Site Operations and Coordination Centre (UN OSOCC) in Islamabad. Over the past year MapAction has trained with OSOCC personnel and instructed on many of their courses and so integration into the OSOCC is straight forward.

At the UN's request MapAction is flying out additional volunteers this evening (11 October) to man the cell. David Spackman, MapAction's Director together with volunteers Kathrin Renner, Geoff Dart and Phil Bridges leave on tonight's flight and others are on standby to reinforce as necessary. Nick and Nigel have also met with two local people at the World Food Programme offices that have a GIS capability and they have agreed to work with MapAction in the OSOCC. Their equipment including large format plotters and data will be a great help.

Today MapAction is helping with setting up the new OSOCC in Islamabad and creating the first sets of information overlays showing the general orientation of the affected area to assist the work of the rescue teams and assist them to prepare for the relief phase. Much will be ready for the UN information manager when he arrives from New York on Wednesday.

We will keep you updated about the work of MapAction in Pakistan through our diary.