Pakistan

Pakistan: Baluchistan earthquakes met with immediate humanitarian response

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Jason A. Smith, International Federation

A series of strong earthquakes shook western Pakistan in the early morning hours of 29 October and the Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) responded immediately to calls for assistance. Additional aftershocks have followed, with early reports indicating that more than 160 people have lost their lives. Thousands of homes have been damaged and thousands of people have been displaced by this disaster.

The Pakistan Red Crescent Society has dispatched four highly trained disaster assessment teams to affected communities. Emergency supplies including tents, blankets, plastic sheeting, and coal burning stoves for 300 families have been dispatched to the area, as have two mobile health teams. These teams include doctors, specialists, and Red Cross Red Crescent volunteers.

Additional team members from the PRCS and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Pakistan will travel to Baluchistan on 30 October. According to Ilyas Khan, PRCS Secretary General, "National Disaster Response Teams have been alerted and are ready for deployment anytime the need arises."

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has two teams on the ground, who are assessing needs and the situation. They say many residents will spend the night outdoors in the cold because they are frightened by the continuing aftershocks. The ICRC will also send medical kits to the region and a surgical and medical team will fly from Peshawar on Thursday.

The Pakistan Red Crescent Society, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the International Committee of the Red Cross are coordinating their efforts to ensure that the humanitarian needs of those impacted by these earthquakes are addressed quickly and effectively.