OCHA Situation Report No. 29
South Asia - Earthquake
The implementation of the winterization campaign is in progress. The aim is to provide each family in need in prioritised camps (i.e. more than 50 tents) with one tent, two pieces of plastic sheeting, four mattresses, one stove, and three blankets per person.
The weather has been good, with no rain or snowfall over the last week in Bagh and Muzaffarabad. However, in Bagh it is anticipated that winter is closing in soon and the road to Behdi Valley will most likely be cut off.
According to local information in Muzaffarabad, there are minor population movements from higher altitudes. Information on where people are coming from and their actual numbers is currently not available. In Bagh, there are no reports of massive downward migration, while in Batagram, there has been ongoing migration of people from higher elevations (particularly Allai valley) into camps. However, the previous week's temporary increase in migration has been followed by a week with slightly lower than normal number of people arriving in Meira Camp.
The Emergency Shelter Cluster is urging the international community to provide plastic sheeting on an urgent basis.
In Muzaffarabad, starting from 20 December, 11 camps will either be closed or the number of residents will be decreased. The hub has also reported concern over NFIs in pipeline, as only food items have been airlifted in the past few days. This, compounded by the fact that air capacity will be seriously hampered, has given rise to fears that NFIs will be in short supply.
According to UNJLC, there only remains a three-week window in which to deliver all Non-Food Items (NFI) before the onset of winter. However, Bagh is experiencing a shortage in surface transport, which is creating obstacles in seizing such an opportunity. Already, several agencies and smaller NGOs are not able to move goods according to their planning.
Although there is no UN presence in Bana, UNHAS will have daily flights to Bana to increase assistance to Allai Valley.
According to UNJLC, the number of helicopters has decreased slightly with foreign military assets leaving the country. Of the 17 helicopters that were being provided by foreign governments and militaries in support of the Government of Pakistan, 8 are leaving. However, 2 additional UNHAS and 2 more helicopters from various NGOs have been made available.
UNHAS currently has 30 5- MT nets, 20 2.5-MT nets and 5 18-MT nets for sling load operations. 35 5-MT nets are in customs; 30 additional 2.5-MT nets are being shipped. UNHAS operates using sling nets out of Manshera, Muzaffarabad, Abbottabad and Chatterplain. The U.S. will provide 14 net builders. They will work in two teams and be tasked by UNHAS for its additional requirements.
A Strategic Information Cell (SIC) has been formed comprising of the Humanitarian Information Centre (HIC), FRC, UNJLC and the clusters (currently only Emergency Shelter Cluster is involved). This will act as a partnership for repository of information gathered. Initially, SIC will focus on data collection for the period between December 15 and January 31. SIC will be located in the new OCHA premises, which were established at the beginning of the week.
According to the Watsan Cluster reports, 80% of the town of Bagh is receiving water from town network, which was rehabilitated by UNICEF (benefiting estimated 20,800 people).
The Pakistani military will gradually hand over its relief effort to the civilian provincial government with assurances that it will remain available for support wherever necessary during the transition period. However, there is concern with regard to capacities of the civilian authorities to carry out relief operations at an adequate level.
As of 23 December, the commitments and contributions against the Flash Appeal stand at USD 240.7 million (43.6 % of overall requirements). A further USD 19.3 million are pledged bringing a total coverage of the Flash Appeal to 47%.
EMERGENCY SHELTER CLUSTER
1. Large quantities of CGI sheets have started to arrive in Bagh and the pipeline for the next week appears to be good. The main concern now is to identify to what extent people have actually started to construct shelter.
2. According to the Federal Relief Commission (FRC), Rupees 8 billion have been distributed in Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PAK) and 6.5 billion in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) in compensation payment for the injured, dead and damaged houses.
3. Shelter needs have been met above 5,000 feet although there might be gaps in coverage, which will be responded to whenever verified by independent assessments.
4. FRC and the Pakistani Military have begun focusing on areas below 5,000 feet.
5. Focused attention is required on the need to procure blankets and quilts in order to provide additional thermal protection in the camps.
6. In PAK, accurate information is available on where spontaneous camps are located. All spontaneous camps in PAK have been assessed and recommendations have been made regarding which ones need to be closed down and which ones are still viable. In NWFP, the process of collecting data is underway in order to provide similar recommendations to the government.
7. 40,000 stoves have been transported to Mansehra and will be distributed in Muzaffarabad. However these stoves have not reached the camps yet, as an authorization from the military is awaited.
8. According to the cluster, in total, 98,605 shelter kits have been distributed to the affected regions. Through the combined efforts, 283,806 tents, 1,727,396 blankets and 450,650 tarpaulins/plastic sheets have been provided. The outstanding needs remain high.
9. There is concern that while those families living in self-constructed improvised shelters or in winterized tents may be better protected from the cold, they too will require additional non-food items such as stoves, blankets and mattresses to increase thermal insulation through the winter months.
10. According to UNJLC, the Thakot - Bana road has been closed by the UN DSS for safety reasons after the road was deemed too dangerous due to the existing road conditions and potential landslides. This is the only road to Bana, which is a strategic location for the distribution of aid to the Allai valley.
11. The US military is bringing in 150 slings including the operating kit. 60-80 nets will be for US use and the remainder will be at UNHAS disposal. Sling operations are scheduled to start later this week. The US military stated that is has 800 more slings available and is able to provide additional quantities if requested. UNHAS is following up on the offer.
12. UNJLC is undertaking a general road assessment and at the same time working to consolidate information on current status of open/closed roads. Visual representation of road information will be made available by UNJLC in the near future.
13. The Logistics Cluster reports that there have been delays on obtaining clearance for certain equipment.
14. The NATO mission will end on 1 of February and NATO assets will not remain in the country after that date. However, discussions are ongoing to determine whether certain assets will be useful to the humanitarian operation beyond NATO's presence.
15. The Italian heavy engineering battalion has arrived. With this arrival NATO has reach full operational capacity. Engineering works are progressing very well in cooperation with the Pakistani military.
16. According to the Watsan Cluster, Hepatitis cases are now breaking out in small numbers on a regular basis. Hepatitis A is endemic in Bagh district and the increase in cases may be largely due to the installation of an improved surveillance mechanism by WHO and the Ministry of Health this week.
17. In Muzaffarabad and Bagh, the third phase of the immunization campaign was launched. Vaccinations include meningitis, hepatitis and measles and are expected to cover around 58,000 persons.
18. One-day health clinics services have been provided in several mountain locations as part of Operation "Winter Race". However, the ability to effectively see and treat vulnerable women and children has been significantly hampered by a lack of female medical personnel, including doctors, physicians' assistants, and nurses. Efforts are currently underway to assess the availability of such personnel from within UN agencies, NGOs, and Pakistan/bilateral military units already operating in the Muzaffarabad area.
19. Reports from Bagh indicate that cases of acute jaundice have been registered. Because the outbreak is most likely related to the water supply, the Watsan Cluster has developed a reporting and reaction mechanism.
20. Acute respiratory infections continue to be the major cause for consultation in all reporting districts and the number of cases is increasing compared to the previous week.
21. WHO, UNHCR and Islamic Relief have started a joint assessment of camps in Mansehra and Muzaffarabad areas in order explore possibilities of integrating primary health care services for the camp population into existing health services.
WATER AND SANITATION CLUSTER
22. There has been concern on the amount of water for people in the camps in Muzaffarabad. It was reported that camps in Muzaffarabad are receiving only 11 litres per day against sphere standards of 15 litters per day. Efforts have been made to review the supply system comprised of tankering operations, in-camp treatment facilities and connection to city network system.
23. In Bagh, there are indications that additional watsan partners are urgently required to meet the demands in the district.
24. While sanitation facilities in the camps are increasing in number, some of these are in need of urgent rehabilitation. Partners have been requested to complete their planned sanitation and bathing facilities within two weeks, while continuing intense hygiene promotion.
25. A total of 487 schools have opened with 32,219 children enrolled with the support of the international community.
26. On 19 December, the Education Cluster conducted a workshop for all its partners on understanding and using the minimum standards for education in emergencies. An agreement has now been reached between the authorities, UNICEF and a local NGO (ITA) to provide technical support to all camp schools and set up new schools as required.
27. Essential items such as mats, plastic sheeting, booklets and teachers guides on earthquake trauma, recreational kits and blackboards are in the pipeline.
28. The government has decided to not fund the construction of semi-permanent structures for schools, and will move directly from emergency school shelters to permanent structures.
FOOD AND NUTRITION
29. WFP has reported that there was a shortfall of wheat flour, but distribution of food has now resumed in all the camps.
30. According to FRC, 1 million people are food-aid dependent in inaccessible and snowbound areas.
31. Given the limitations in the storage capacity and the fact that an estimated 6,180 MTs of food commodities are still expected to arrive from Turkey, the Pakistani Military and local authorities will commence food distribution to the affected populations in 17 out of 28 Union Councils in Bagh District, which is under the responsibility of the Government. WFP and their four implementing partners are distributing food in the 9 remaining Union Councils, which mainly covers remote, high altitude areas.
32. As many different types of registrations have and are being made, the Protection Clusters has expressed concern on those inconsistencies and over future problems that will occur if a new registration is to be introduced.
CAMP MANAGEMENT CLUSTER
33. During visits by the Cluster members in the upper valleys, discussions with villagers still living near their damaged or destroyed homes revealed that the vast majority were very reluctant to move to planned camps for a variety of reasons. Most had to do with cultural beliefs, the movement of livestock and the fear of encroachment on their lands were also cited as reasons for avoiding reallocation. People emphasized that the restoration and repair of the pre-quake water systems was essential to allow them to stay. The winterization items, and to a lesser extent additional latrines and washrooms, have affected the people's willingness to stay.
34. UNHCR is setting up improved camps to help relieve pressure from the existing camps. 13 new camps with a capacity to accommodate approximately 2,800 families are being established in Muzaffarabad and Hattian districts. UNHCR aims to regroup the camps in order to make the delivery of services easier.
35. The cluster is currently doing the preparatory work for individual registration in all camps in Muzaffarabad to be conducted in early January.
36. UNHCR has started the distribution of NFIs (1 plastic sheet and 2 blankets per person) in all the camps. As soon as kerosene is available, UNHCR will also distribute heating/cooking stoves. The stoves will only be distributed to families that have taken fire prevention measures.
37. According to the military, people have stopped coming down from Allai and Kaghan valleys in NWFP. Therefore, the numbers of new arrivals have continued to drop.
38. In Mansehra, the Cluster reports that a total of 26,600 heating stoves, 26,000 plastic sheets and 70,000 pieces of soap are expected to arrive shortly.
39. All detailed cluster information (meeting minutes, assessments, contact information etc.) is being posted on www.un.org.pk.
40. The latest information on projects and funding for the Flash Appeal, and for the emergency overall, can be found on the Financial Tracking Service (http://ocha.unog.ch/fts/reports/reportlist.asp?section=CE&record_ID=688).Further information on earthquake appeals and funding is available on ReliefWeb (http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/dbc.nsf/doc105?OpenForm&rc=3&emid=EQ-2005-000174-PAK).
41. Contact details of focal points for information on in-kind and cash contributions can be found at http://www.un.org.pk/earthquake05/
42. OCHA will revert with further information as it becomes available. This situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at http://www.reliefweb.int.
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Mr. Anvar Munavvarov, direct Tel. +41-22 917 1669
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(N.Y.) Ms. Stephanie Bunker, direct Tel. + 1-917 367 5126
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