Pakistan: Baluchistan Earthquake - Information Bulletin n° 4


GLIDE: EQ-2008-000206-PAK

This bulletin is being issued for information only.

A series of earthquakes shook the country's south-western province of Baluchistan in the early morning hours of 29 October. The strongest one, with a magnitude of 6.4 on the Richter Scale, hit Baluchistan at approximately 5.10am Pakistan time (GMT +6). The worst-hit areas were the districts of Ziarat and Pashin. According to government officials, about 4,000 household were damaged displacing some 25,000 to 30,000 people.

Following the initial assessment, the government and humanitarian players in the field are mobilizing their resources in distributing food and basic relief items to the affected families.

The Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS), with support from the International Federation and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), has distributed basic relief items and food packages to almost 6,000 families in the affected areas in Ziarat and Pashin.

The government and international organizations are frantically trying to distribute the food and relief items before winter commences. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has stepped up plans to distribute winterized tents and install emergency transitional shelters that are resistant to the cold.

The ICRC launched a preliminary appeal of CHF 9 million (USD 7.8 million or EUR 6 million) to enhance the emergency response operation of the PRCS.

The Situation

A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4 on the Richter scale hit Pakistan's south-western province of Baluchistan at approximately 5.10am Pakistan time (GMT +6). 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 districts were Ziarat and Pashin.

Following preliminary assessments, the national and local government carried out massive emergency relief operations and health intervention in the affected areas. Humanitarian aid agencies, including the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement led by the PRCS, has distributed food packages and various relief items to nearly 6,000 families in the earthquake-hit areas.

Two weeks since the earthquake struck, people are slowly resuming their normal lives, with the emergency response operation almost complete. Almost all of the affected people have been provided with immediate basic items such as tents, blankets and food packs.

With the onset of winter, the government and humanitarian organizations are continually working to beat the harsh effects of the extreme weather conditions that drop below zero, especially at night time.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action

To date, the PRCS, with the support of the International Federation and the ICRC, has distributed food and nonfood items to nearly 6,000 families in the worst-hit villages in Ziarat and Pashin districts. Relief items distributed in Ziarat are as follows:

Items Units
Tents             3,209
Blankets 15,936
Tarpaulins 3,954
Quilts 1,362
Kitchen sets 1,912
Stoves 1,952
Jerry cans 3,942
Hygiene kits 2,462
Food parcels 1,000

Of the above distributed items, 1,000 food packs and 500 hygiene kits were provided by the Turkish Red Crescent. A total of 690 tents and 1,475 blankets from the above distributed items were provided by the ICRC. The rest of the relief items were provided by the International Federation as part of the disaster preparedness stocks under the PRCS disaster preparedness programme.

In Pashin district, the PRCS has extended relief aid to 950 affected families with 800 tents provided by the International Federation and the additional 150 tents, 345 tarpaulin sheets, 330 blankets and 186 mats provided by the ICRC.

So far, a total of 60 truckloads of non-food items have been dispatched to the affected areas - 54 in Ziarat and six in Pashin. Five PRCS teams - comprised of six staff and volunteers each - are conducting relief distribution in the affected areas. The PRCS Baluchistan branch has a core group of 50 volunteers working on rotation basis in the quake-hit areas. The PRCS Pakistan Administered Kashmir (AJK) state branch has sent PRCS headquarters PKR 75,000 (CHF 1,110) donated by the local people for the quake-affected families in Baluchistan. In addition, the PRCS AKJ branch has sent a truckload of clothing items for the affected families.

The Iran Red Crescent Society has sent relief consignment to PRCS consisting of 1,000 tents, 5,000 blankets, 10,000 canned fish, 352 cartons of medicines and 30,000 bars of soap.

The American Red Cross, in collaboration with PRCS national headquarters, has procured 350 winterized tents and 5,000 jackets to be dispatched to Ziarat within the week for distribution to the affected families.

Two PRCS/International Federation mobile health teams have treated a total of 2,376 patients in several hardest-hit villages in Ziarat. The common cases treated were respiratory infection, pneumonia, diarrhoea and vomiting. The health teams will continue to monitor the situation, especially with the approaching winter season.

Two PRCS psychological teams, composed of one female and one male social worker and two volunteers in each team and trained by the Turkish Red Crescent, are conducting house-to-house visits in four major areas in Ziarat, namely Wam Debona, Kan Bangla, Killi Payoa and Sankhezai. The teams organize various activities to help comfort the people. According to the teams, most people - especially children - still live in fear, with more aftershocks still shaking the ground. The psychological support teams are organizing the community into groups so they could talk openly amongst themselves about their own experiences. The PRCS, with the support of the community, has also built a tent school in Ziarat for the continuing informal education of the children and to serve as venue for socialization and games.

The PRCS is working closely with all Movement partners for further distribution of winterized tents, jackets, thermals and quilts.

The Turkish Red Crescent, in coordination with PRCS, is setting up a steel container designed for winter which can accommodate up to 120 families. The steel container will have basic facilities such as a wash room, toilet, a kitchen and a food storage room.

The International Federation has deployed a shelter cluster convenor group to work with the PRCS in coordinating the emergency shelter efforts in the quake zone.

The PRCS/ICRC is providing shelter kits to 2,000 families, comprised of approximately 14,000 persons.