CWS emergency situation report no. 4: Pakistan earthquake

News and Press Release
Originally published
SITUATION - Relief efforts continue in the wake of the Oct. 29, 6.4-magnitude earthquake in southwest Pakistan that, according to unofficial accounts, killed as many as 350 persons and left some 3,000 homes destroyed and about 15,000 homeless.

RESPONSE: Church World Service Pakistan/Afghanistan "continues to provide much needed aid to the affected communities in Balochistan," according to a disaster response update CWS P/A issued today.

"More than a week after the initial earthquake, families continue to survive with little more than the clothes on their backs. Although grateful to the government and organizations providing relief items, the survivors express immediate, additional needs," CWS P/A said.

Saadia Yaqoob of the CWS P/A staff said: *Local and international non-governmental organizations are doing a fine job, but it should be kept in mind that the affected people are living below freezing temperature at night and can cope with chilly winds only in winterized tents.*

The CWS response focuses on assisting a total of 4,000 families. Items being 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.

Today, a CWS team distributed another 100 winterized tents and 400 blankets to earthquake affectees in Mana (Zindra) and other villages of the Kawas area, though CWS-P/A said it alone cannot distribute enough winterized tents to serve the entire homeless population.

Another issue facing responders is that most survivors are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder -- posing a major challenge to a country with reportedly less than 350 qualified psychiatrists.

"Unfortunately, the overall situation could become worse before it improves," CWS P/A said. "The local economy relies upon apples, cherries, and grapes as the main income source. The earthquake destroyed most apple storage houses, and without immediate steps to build temporary ones, the entire harvest could rot. This would increase the people*s misery and have a lasting, negative economic effect.

CWS-P/A will continue to respond to immediate needs by continuing to distribute tents and other relief items. CWS-P/A plans to provide support during the rehabilitation phase, and CWS plans to issue an appeal for this phase sometime next week for which substantive financial support will be needed.

CWS is working an implementing partner, Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO), in the current response.

For further information about disasters to which Church World Service is responding please visit or call the CWS Hotline, (800) 297-1516.

CWS Emergency Response Program special contacts: (212) 870-3151

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