Pakistan

Pakistan Earthquake: More than 500 calls offered to survivors and 80% of NGOs assisted

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Reacting to the 6.5 earthquake in Pakistan Télécoms Sans Frontières deployed a team of emergency telecommunications specialist on Friday 29 October. TSF's team which included a volunteer of the Asian Institute of Technology deployed from its Asian base in Bangkok to the affected Province of Balotchistan.

Landlines were cut off and only the cities of Ziarat and Quetta were covered by mobile networks leaving dozens of villages located in the valleys without any communications.

In 15 days of mission, Télécoms Sans Frontières offered more than 500 calls so that those affected could give news to thier family and ask for help.

TSF's team travelled from village to village with satellite phones. Survivors were in desperate need of blankets and shelter to protect from the freezing cold at 2 500 meters altitude right at the heart of one of the poorest regions of the country.

According to local authorities, 321 people were killed and 603 seriously injured (with as many as 311 and 350 in the Ziarat area alone). In total, more than 130,000 people have been affected and are still in need of assistance.

TSF also installed a satellite-based Emergency Communications Centre which benefited 80% of the humanitarian community in Ziarat. TSF's mission ended on November 13th as communications networks resumed back to the level before the disaster.

This was TSF's 8th emergency deployment since the beginning of the year. It was also the second time TSF intervened in Pakistan. On October 8th 2005, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake killed more than 75,000 people in the Pakistani Kashmir. TSF which had responded for more than one month to the emergency had helped 70 aid organizations and offered free calls to almost 2,200 affected families.

This mission was supported by the Vodafone Group Foundation, the United Nations Foundation, Inmarsat, Eutelsat, Vizada, AT&T, Cable & Wireless, PCCW Global and the Regional Council of Aquitaine.