Pakistan

CARE responds to deadly Pakistan earthquake

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Quetta, Pakistan Oct. 29 2008 - CARE's emergency team is on the ground in the devastated region of Baluchistan province, near the border of Afghanistan, where a 6.4 magnitude earthquake destroyed houses and killed a reported 500-600 people. The death toll from the quake is expected to rise throughout the day as rescuers recover more bodies from the rubble.

"If the 2005 quake is anything to go by, we could see the death roll rise sharply as more information comes in from the remote areas," said Hasan Mazumdar, CARE's Country Director in Pakistan. "We have reports that two villages in Ziarat, near Quetta, lost 100 people each, and all houses were destroyed. And that's just two villages."

Immediate needs are food, shelter, emergency medical assistance to reach survivors in rural areas, and safe drinking water. CARE, which responded to the 2005 quake that killed more than 73,000 people, is shipping 100 winterized family tents to the affected area near the provincial capital of Quetta. As CARE and government and aid agencies work to determine the full extent of the damage, CARE is preparing to ship additional shelter and emergency supplies and dispatch a medical team to treat injured survivors.

"Shelter is the most critical need now. Winter has already started here. At night, it goes down to 5C. If we don't get shelter for the survivors, they will be sleeping under the open sky. This is a vast, poor area - it's not like the survivors can easily evacuate to a safe place," said Mazumdar.

Most of the damaged shelters are mud huts, that crumpled under the force of the earthquake. Landlines are cut off, and many roads are inaccessible to the more remote areas.

About CARE: CARE has been working in Pakistan since 2005. CARE works in some of the most remote and logistically challenging areas of Pakistan, implementing programs in health, education, water and sanitation, psychosocial, livelihoods and emergency response.

To arrange media interviews with the CARE emergency team, please contact:

Melanie Brooks, Media and Communications Coordinator (Geneva)

Mobile: +41.79.590.3047 e-mail: brooks@careinternational.org