Pakistan: Baluchistan Earthquake Emergency appeal No. MDRPK002

GLIDE No. EQ-2008-000206-PAK

This Emergency Appeal seeks CHF 2.5 million (USD 2.08 million or EUR 1.65 million) in cash, kind, or services, to support the Pakistan Red Crescent Society's (PRCS) humanitarian response to 4,000 families in the worst-affected areas of Ziarat and Pishin for a period of six months.

The above-given figure is based on the needs identified by the PRCS/International Federation assessment teams. This is in response to the request of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and emergency shelter cluster, which has identified the need of 13,000 winterized shelters to support the full population affected. These are complementary to the needs identified and covered by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Appeal.

On 29 October 2008, a strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4 on the Richter scale shook Pakistan's south-western province of Baluchistan at 5:33 am (Pakistan standard time; GMT +6). The worst-hit areas were the districts of Ziarat, Pishin and Harnai. Between 7,000 and 8,000 households were destroyed and others badly damaged, rendering around 70,000 to 80,000 people homeless (average family size is 10 persons in this region). Following preliminary assessments, the government and international humanitarian organizations, including the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, undertook massive emergency relief operations in the affected areas.

There is therefore a need for emergency shelter in the affected areas to ensure people are protected and kept warm as temperatures drop to minus nine degrees centigrade during night. The affected population is taking refuge in tents and makeshift shelters, which are inadequate to meet the requirements of the weather. Most of the affected areas are situated in the hills, where severe cold weather could pose a risk to life and has led to an increase in respiratory tract infections.

This appeal seeks to provide support to families not covered by the humanitarian response of other agencies and to support the Pakistan Red Crescent in assisting those affected by this earthquake.

The situation

A series of powerful earthquakes shook Pakistan's south-western province of Baluchistan in the early morning hours of 29 October 2008. Two main shocks were felt: the first tremor with a magnitude of 5.2 on the Richter scale was felt at approximately 4:40 am (Pakistan standard time), while a second tremor with a 6.4 magnitude on the Richter scale occurred at 5:33 am (Pakistan standard time). The epicentre of the earthquake was 70 kilometres north-east of the provincial capital of Quetta and 25 kilometres east of Ziarat. The worst-hit areas were the districts of Ziarat, Pishin and Harnai. A series of aftershocks followed the two major earthquakes; it increased the magnitude of damage in the affected areas.

According to government officials, about 7,000 to 8,000 households were completely damaged, displacing approximately 70,000 to 80,000 people. A total of 166 people have lost their lives and 320 have been injured.

Most of the schools and other public infrastructures have collapsed or are severely damaged.

Following preliminary assessments, the government and humanitarian players in the field, including the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, are mobilizing their resources in distributing food and non-food items to the affected families. Health and care provisions are also being made available in the affected areas.

Though the emergency needs of the affected people are being dealt with by the various humanitarian actors in the field, there is still an outstanding need for warm shelter.

With the onset of winter, the need to provide the affected families with more durable and sturdy winterresistant shelter is urgent. Most of the affected villages are situated at the foot of the barren hills where people have no sufficient means to protect themselves from the severe cold. As most of the people in the affected areas were living in mud or mud-brick houses, most of the houses have been destroyed or severely damaged. The tents which affected families are now living in are not designed for winter. Those who stay in tents are mostly children and women. Men stay outside and warm themselves with wood fires. Extreme weather conditions of between minus four and minus nine degrees centigrade have been recorded, especially at night time. The temperature is expected to drop as winter progresses.

Map: Pakistan: Baluchistan earthquakes (as of 19 Nov 2008) - Situation Map