1. CRITICAL ISSUES FOR CHILDREN
An earthquake of magnitude 6.4 on the open Richter scale hit the province of Balochistan in Southwestern Pakistan on 29 October 2008. According to the US Geological Survey, the epicenter of the earth quake was located in the Chiltan mountains about 80 kilometers northwest of Quetta, the provincial capital. The first tremor struck at 4:09 am local time (23:09 GMT) at a depth of 10 kilometer while the second one came at 5:15 am.
- The districts of Pishin, Ziarat, Quetta, Qilla Abdullah and Harnai of Balochistan province were severely affected by the earthquake. Media and civil society organizations are putting the death toll at 200 with over 350 injured. Government has confirmed 150 deaths and 250 injured so far. The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) reports that 149 persons have died in Ziarat and 1 in Pishin.
- As per initial assessments about 108,000 people, of whom at least 50% are children including 19,000 under-five, are estimated to be affected by the earthquake. Approximately 3,000 people are currently displaced and over 15,000 mud/wood houses have been completely destroyed.
- The earthquake hit areas which are located in a severe winter climatic zone which increases the vulnerability of the affected population left to live in the open. In addition the population lives in scattered and hard to reach areas, hence hindering access.
- On 30 October the Chief Minister of Balochistan appealed for international assistance to be provided to the earthquake victims.