- Hundreds of thousands in desperate need and displaced by violence in the Congo
Portland, OR- Mercy Corps is responding to the needs of families in the southwest Balochistan province of Pakistan after two powerful earthquakes - measuring 6.4 and 6.2 on the Richter scale - shook the region Wednesday morning. Striking approximately 50 miles north of the city of Quetta, the quakes have left at least 160 people dead and thousands homeless as aftershocks continue to rock the area.
"We are responding as quickly as possible to meet the desperate needs of the affected communities," said Joanne Walshe, Mercy Corps Country Director in Pakistan. "Temperatures are very low in the region so emergency medical assistance is crucial at this stage. Basic supplied such as blankets, warm clothes and tents are also urgently required to keep people as warm and sheltered as possible."
Mercy Corps sent two ambulances with doctors and paramedics from Quetta towards the villages most severely hit by earthquake; each ambulance was equipped with essential medical supplies, water and dry food rations. The agency also quickly established a ten-bed emergency health facility in the Ziharat district, the most affected area, to begin immediate treatment of the injured.
At the same time, Mercy Corps is playing a key role in emergency response efforts in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has been engulfed by violence in the past several days. More than 200,000 people have fled fighting and sought refuge in communities and displacement camps near the besieged city of Goma.
Mercy Corps has been responding to the enormous water and sanitation needs, trucking more than 200,000 liters of potable water to the community of Kibati, where the majority of newly displaced families have sought refuge. The areas around Goma were already stretched thin before this recent wave of violence - 850,000 people fled to the area when violence broke out last spring.
Mercy Corps will continue monitoring the situation in and around Goma, and will provide water and other emergency supplies as long as the security situation permits.
HOW TO HELP:
PO Box 2669
Portland, OR 97208
Mercy Corps works amid disasters, conflicts, chronic poverty and instability to unleash the potential of people who can win against nearly impossible odds. Since 1979, Mercy Corps has provided $1.5 billion in assistance to people in 106 nations. Supported by headquarters offices in North America and Europe, the agency's unified global programs employ 3,500 staff worldwide and reach nearly 16.4 million people in more than 35 countries.