The Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) began its response to the earthquake from the very onset, through distributing in-country disaster preparedness stocks to immediately reach the most vulnerable with much-needed relief assistance. Within two days of the disaster, an International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) field assessment and coordination team (FACT) arrived in country to assess the on-ground needs, while emergency response units (ERUs) and regional disaster response teams (RDRT) were also being mobilized. At the same time, teams of experts and relief shipments from different partner national societies started arriving in country.
The affected areas in the northern provinces of Pakistan presented a difficult logistical challenge due to remote mountainous terrains and vast road inaccessibility. PRCS/IFRC employed the use of helicopters and heavy duty trucks to implement its relief distributions, along with a massive workforce of several hundred PRCS staff and volunteers working round the clock. This operation proved to be the largest mobilization of Red Cross Red Crescent of its time in the country, leading to the expansion of the PRCS’s structures and capacity and signaling the first of many involvements in national humanitarian response to major disasters in Pakistan over the next six years.
To support the extensive operations in far flung areas of district Mansehra and Battagram, IFRC set up base camps in Balakot (district Mansehra) and Allai valley (district Battagram). Besides that, a field office was set up in Mansehra with a radio room to facilitate field activities.
By October 2006, PRCS/IFRC reached more than one million people through provision of emergency relief.
The recovery phase of the operation was completed in December 2009, with almost all activities in the earthquake-affected areas finalized.
All the field activities planned by water and sanitation (WatSan) programme in earthquake affected areas concluded in November 2009. From October 2005 to December 2009, a total of 152,476 affected people has benefited from the programme.
The livelihood programme has targeted 200,000 people in its two interlinked phases, such as the early relief and recovery (2006-2007) and rehabilitation and development (2008-2009).
Construction projects make up the bulk of remaining implementation; of the 36 planned, 29 have now been completed. The remaining projects funded by the American Red Cross, Japanese Red Cross and Republic of Korea Red Cross are virtually complete in terms of physical construction, with the remaining procurement of medical equipment and facilities to be completed by 31 December 2012. These pending projects, along with the balance of funds amounting to CHF 7,997,203 will be transferred to the IFRC Pakistan country office longterm planning framework 2012-2015, covering the disaster management, health and care, and organisational development programmes.
Partners/donors who have any questions about the reallocation of the final balance of funds are requested to contact IFRC within the next 30 days.
PRCS is in the process of reviewing their longer-term strategy for disaster management, health and branch development to ensure a more integrated approach to increase community resilience. Together with IFRC and other partners, the National Society is also reviewing support plans for existing hardware components such as warehouse capacity, and its national network of disaster management cells and basic health units.
Ideas are being developed for better future sustainability, in view of the current situation where PRCS remains reliant on support from its partners.
PRCS recognizes the need to scale down on operational staff and administrative cost to reduce current overheads to a more acceptable level. The National Society includes in its considerations an exit strategy, taking into account potential compensation packages for staff members leaving the organization. A more detailed plan and revised budget is being worked on with support from IFRC, and is expected to be ready by the end of July.
IFRC, on behalf of PRCS, would like to thank all the partners/donors for their generous response to this appeal.