SITUATION: The death toll from the Wednesday (Oct. 29) 6.4-magnitude earthquake in southwest Pakistan along the Afghan border remains unclear, with officials saying it could climb beyond 300, though officially the toll has been said to be 160 persons; unofficial estimates have put the toll at about 350 persons. Some 3,000 homes were destroyed and about 15,000 left homeless, the Associated Press reported.
There have been about 500 aftershocks in the earthquake-affected areas, centered in Balochistan. Church World Service Pakistan/Afghanistan reports that damaged roads in the worst-affected areas of Ziarat remain nearly impassable; cold weather is also bearing down on survivors, who remain outdoors without blankets or warm clothes to protect them. "Without immediate shelter, blankets, warm clothes and food, the death toll will continue to rise," CWS P/A said today.
RESPONSE: CWS Pakistan/Afghanistan, with offices in Quetta, located near the earthquake zone, has been involved in assessments and immediate response. Working with several humanitarian groups, including another international NGO and CWS's implementing partner, Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO), CWS has assessed needs in nine villages that included 230 households with 2,851 persons. CWS distributed items in four of the villages.
CWS has dispatched nine truck loads of relief items for these villages and for additional distribution later to other villages. In all, CWS seeks to assist a total of 4,000 families. Items distributed include 1,000 winterized tents, 4,000 hygiene kits, 4,000 thermal blankets, 1,922 sweaters and woolen jumpers, 100 food packages, 335 bags of rice, 335 tins of cooking oil and 85 cartons of water purifying tablets.
Food packages include the following items: 80 kg of wheat flour; 40 kg of rice; 10 litres of cooking oil; 7 kg of sugar; 2 kg of tea; 2 kg of milk; 1 kg of salt; 1 box of matches; 1 box of soap; 7 kg of pulses.
CWS-P/A will implement the project with SPO. Action by Churches Together has sent CWS P/A a rapid response payment of $31,167 to help with costs of the immediate response and CWS has utilized $10,000 of its own funds for initial response.
For further information about disasters to which Church World Service is responding please visit www.churchworldservice.org or call the CWS Hotline, (800) 297-1516.
CWS Emergency Response Program special contacts: (212) 870-3151
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