Pakistan - Earthquake: OCHA Situation Report No. 30

Ref: OCHA/GVA/2005/0224

OCHA Situation Report No. 30
South Asia - Earthquake


1. Overall Conditions:

Since 31 December 2005, heavy rains and snowfall have hit most areas affected by the October earthquake. Forecast indicates continuing conditions for the next few days.

No casualties have been reported.

Accessibility remains a serious concern in most areas.

Landslides are reported in some roads (details below).

Helicopter flights would only resume as weather conditions allow.

A comprehensive inventory of additional requirements is to be provided.

In a meeting of the Humanitarian Coordinator with Heads of Clusters in Islamabad, critical gaps were identified and contingency measures decided. The Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator focused his action on Battagram where he is currently on mission.

2. Muzaffarabad:

Landslides are reported in Neelum and Jeelum valleys. The landslides are still active and will not be cleared until they are settled.

Muzaffarabad -- Neelum Valley road and Muzaffarabad -- Jeelum Valley road are closed. The Muzaffarabad -- Gahri Habbibula road is open.

Due to the deteriorated weather situation, representatives living in the camps have contacted UN agencies to get their tents winterized. IOM, UNICEF and UNHCR started distribution wherever accessible.

3. Batagram:

Heavy rain continues. According to the Pakistan army there are 6-8 inches of snow in Bana town (Allai valley), and 4 feet of snow in higher elevations.

According to OCHA Batagram, all major roads (Batagram-Mansehra, Batagram-Besham and Thakot-Bana) are closed. However, there are contradictory reports on road access.

There have been no helicopters flights today.

Batagram Maidan Camp:

An inter-agency assessment is being carried out to determine state of the tents and the intention of people to be relocated. In Phase I conditions are satisfactory. In 6 blocks of Phase II (combined population of 1700) there is a need for urgent attention.

Warm clothes, tarpaulins, and food were distributed already.

There have been no serious medical incidents, although the medical units have been busy and WHO warned of a potential public health problem.

Overall there is no intention to relocate. Male representatives requested food and heating. Agencies expressed concern over vulnerable cases and the lack of consultation of women and children' in regards to relocation.

Agencies have identified a nearby college with 50 rooms as the most suitable option for relocation. UNICEF and IOM will meet with the Ministry of Education to secure the building and obtain a certificate of safety. 50 most affected families could be relocated. It is expected that the college may be used for up to 3 months. Although the people have presently stated that they do not wish to move, it was decided that the offer of a complete package will motivate the move.

The Pakistan military requested large 200 litre barrels of (available in the market), diesel and cooking oil. They would provide hot water. The military also requested waterproof clothing and umbrellas, as well as porridge and milk for 1-3 yr olds. Rice, sugar, milk and tea are also requested.

Maira Camp:

The largest camp in the earthquake affected areas of Pakistan (15,000 people). Not directly affected by the weather conditions.

100 new families have arrived in the camp today (mostly from Allai), and increase of 50 from yesterday ( see Bana ).

Water and sanitation are being addressed by agencies involved.

Banian camp

The camp (558 people), is flooded in some areas.

No tents have collapsed and the condition

There are 100 unoccupied tents.

Bana (reports from CARE International and Pakistan Army):

Tents in the vicinity of Bana town have collapsed and efforts are being made to provide assistance to the people. The town is orderly and there is no large population movement.

Nevertheless, 23 trucks with people left Bana today to lower altitudes because of the harsh weather.

The Pakistan Military is assessing contingency stocks in the event of further deterioration of weather.

4. Bagh (UN Base Camp):

DSS arranged a meeting at 12.00 hrs with the Head of Police who confirmed that the road Bagh - Arja - Dal Kot - Rawalpindi is accessible for UN staff only. NGOs are permitted to use only the road via Murree. This road is blocked.

NGOs are coming to the UN compound asking for information on road clearance and how to bring relief goods into Bagh. In a short meeting we identified an immediate need for the following relief items (no quantities provided):

  • plastic sheets, rain gear for people living in improvised camps (23 camps), rubber boots - in particular for children, waterproof cloths and gloves for children, and most importantly tools to dig drains around tents, e.g. shovels and also brooms to clear tent roofs.

Reports indicate that spontaneous camps all around Bagh are badly affected. Tents have collapsed. IOM is out distributing plastic sheets. The top priority right now is keeping people dry and keeping their tents dry.

A WHO team from Rawalakot arrived at 15.00 hrs and briefed OCHA on collapsing houses, minor landslides and rocks tumbling down in their region. Rawalakot is a negelected area, being located south of Bagh. They have 50 cm of snow and the weight of snow causes buildings to collapse that survived the earthquake. Rawalakot is only accessible by 4 x 4 cars and local cars stuck in the snow create a problem.

It is reported that the only window of opportunity to bring in relief goods and staff is on Wednesday, 4/1 and Thursday 5/1. The road to Islamabad is expected to be blocked again by snow on Friday, 06/1.

Bagh is cut off from electricity and the camp generator is not always working. Agencies Heads are preparing a contingency plan.

4. Mansehra: (Pending Report on the effect of weather conditions).

SITUATION OVERVIEW (Up to 31 December 2005)

Two security incidents were reported in Kokliot town, Muzaffarabad district. Preliminary reports indicate that UN staff was threatened while in the process of transporting goods to a warehouse. The hub reports that a warehouse was destroyed and WFP's food looted. UNDSS has decided that Kokliot and a 5 km radius are off limits to UN operation.

Considering that the initial emergency phase concluded, the Federal Relief Commission (FRC) is now advising all individuals and foreign NGOs to obtain a proper visa before entering the country, according to the Logistics Bulletin. Aid workers who are already in the country will probably continue to benefit from the former regime.

The issue of police escorts continues to cause concern amongst NGOs and the UN. The NWFP Authorities have offered two solutions. UN staff can either ride with a pool of armed police officers in their mission vehicles (which raises problems with the general UN policy) or the staff can share their movement information with the AIG's office 48 hours in advance. Clusters members were not very comfortable with the options and there was a suggestion to have more check-posts in order to improve the security conditions. In Bagh and Batagram the logistics cluster reports that there may be a possible two-week grace period for police escorts, but no official written confirmation has been obtained as yet.

DSS have recommended a relocation of the Battagram camp. Although local agencies recognise disadvantages of the current site, they have raised concerns about the consequences of a move on the existing relief operations. IHP said they do not have the capacity to initiate such a relocation. At the heads of clusters meeting in Islamabad, the logistics lead underlined the fact that moving office would halt all operations at the hub for at least 10 days.

The pipeline for shelter-related non-food items is experiencing a surge as orders made in November begin to arrive. This is likely to stretch non-governmental and governmental distribution capacities through the end of January 2006, especially since access by road is expected to become more difficult during this period. In Muzaffarabad many of the orders are now arriving which may overload the current distribution capacity at all levels. The distribution of 45,000 winterised kits provided by DFID and 50,000 CGI by UNDP will start this week.

According to the Emergency Shelter Cluster indicates that over 3.3 million corrugated galvanized iron (CGI) sheets and 4.8 million blankets have been distributed. Over 1 million blankets are still required.

After Bagh (see SITREP 29), a decline in the availability of commercial trucking has also been noticed in Muzaffarabad. However, WFP reports that this has not yet affected its operation.

Under the current funding situation, UNHAS will be operational until the end of March. An office has been set up in Bagh that will assist in passenger and cargo movements.

The first phase of Winter Race was completed. The Pakistan Army and the international community will increasingly re-focus their emergency and transitional shelter programmes to lower altitudes in advance of an encroaching snow-line. Delivery gaps will continue to be met above the snow line wherever needs become evident. A second phase of Winter Race will be required in the period until the end of January 2006, for which procurement is now underway.

Population movements: Battagram There has been a decrease in the ongoing migration of people from higher elevations into camps.

In Islamabad and Rawalpindi, movement of heavy vehicles (approximately > 7 MT) is restricted. Agencies can apply for a formal exemption from these restrictions.

The logistics cluster reports that there is currently no local coordination system in Poonch, which is significantly distant from the next humanitarian hub in Bagh.

98,605 shelter kits delivered (= 730,000 beneficiaries) of which 64,529 delivered >5000ft (= 478,000 beneficiaries) = total coverage of 90%.

WFP plans to do blanket supplementary feeding in WFP demarcated areas for 150,000 children, from January to April 2006. Food has been propositioned for a period of three months for the high altitude areas, about 40% beneficiaries that have not yet received food. Food distribution was reportedly finalized during the last week of December.

Two therapeutic feeding centers (TFC) for children with acute malnutrition have been established, one each in NWFP and P.A.K. A 4-day training on therapeutic feeding was completed on 22 December 2005 and the second training reportedly started on 28 December 2005 in Peshawar.

According to the UNJLC bottleneck report- NATO operations in Pakistan will cease on February 1st. The withdrawal period will necessitate large numbers of airplanes coming from Europe to ship back equipment and personnel. As these planes will be flying in empty and leaving Pakistan full, there is an opportunity for agencies to send in relief and reconstruction supplies.

The distributions of compensation cheques have not been completed in Battagram as initially planned. According to DCO, they are now due to be finished in the next couple of weeks.

According to the Watsan cluster, there are areas that remain unserved such as the Havelli District. NGOs are encouraged to work in this district, where water availability is a real concern.

In Battagram, negotiation for access to the northern part of Kala Dhaka has commenced in conjunction with IOM and SCF who are currently providing assistance to this tribal area which is considered neglected in terms of the response. The local tribal leader has verbally welcomed agencies to work there and given security assurances. OCHA attended a Loya Jirga of tribal leaders from Kala Dhaka, organised by the Shelter Cluster in Mansehra. A coordinated response will be developed using a similar assessment methodology and ensuring a delineation of the geographical areas with the northern part of Kala Dhaka assisted from the Batagram humanitarian hub.

The issue of inadequate spacing in the UN hubs is still a problem. In Battagram, there has been a delay in moving into the new UN office because of a faulty electrical system. The Bagh Hub is also facing major space constraints and has reported that facilities are stretched to their limit and NO additional UN staff can be accommodated.

The Mansehra hub reports that Shelter and food remain one of the major concerns. OCHA Mansehra held a meeting with the INGO and IO response community to listen to their key concerns and to stress the importance of re-engaging in the cluster approach in Mansehra. Participation has increased significantly as a result with between 80 -- 150 persons attending the General Coordination Meeting on a weekly basis, and around 30 agencies attending each cluster meeting.

In Bagh, emergency shelter materials, food and non-food items continue to be provided with focus on high-altitude, remote locations and camps. However, access to high altitude locations remains a problem.

Funding: As of 29 December some $240.7 million have been contributed/committed. Hence, 43.6% of the UN flash appeal has been financed. Apart from this, approximately $19.3 million have been pledged. If this amount were fulfilled then 47% of the flash appeal would be materialized.



1. The focus is now on vulnerable groups in lower-lying areas. Priorities include supplying emergency self-help shelter kits for affected communities below 5000ft; identifying and meeting un-met needs above 5000ft; supplying personal insulation materials (blankets/quilts, clothes) to all affected areas and the winterization of non-winterised tent stock already distributed (plastic sheets, tarpaulins, stoves) from valley floors upwards

2. The cluster has organized a 'Transitional Shelter and Return' workshop that will be held on the 13th of January for Development NGOs that are interested in remaining engaged after relief operations have ended.

3. A household-based registration shall begin on January 1st and shall cover both planned and spontaneous camps. Camp management government representatives from both P.A.K and NWFP shall meet on December 23rd to decide the formalities of this registration process.

4. Capacity building and training are the main issues for the new camp management organization, in which they will be assisted by UNHCR.

5. According to the FRC, some NGOs are assisting people to move back to their areas of origin by providing them with the necessary incentives, such as shelter materials, repair kits, and food. There is a daily trickle down effect of about 50 to 60 people going back from Islamabad to their areas of origin.

6. Individual organizations are sensitising communities with regards to fire hazards. Guidelines dealing with fire safety have been translated into two languages, which provide explanations with the help of diagrams.

7. FRC will clarify the position with regard to use and distribution of stoves to planned and spontaneous camps as soon as possible.

8. The Emergency Shelter Cluster is working with the Early Recovery and Camp Management Cluster on the relief-recovery (LRRD Linking Relief, Rehabilitation and Development.) transition plan, including capacity-building of local authorities, awareness-raising of appropriate transitional shelter best practices, and return.

9. The Cluster exit strategy will focus on supporting community sensitization measures by local authorities with the aim of creating seismic-resistant shelter using much of the material already provided.

10. The Emergency Shelter Cluster planning assumption is that 20% of the affected population are actually displaced from their area of origin, with 1.7 million of the 3.25 million affected currently living in tents. All such numerators will be assessed by OCHA in the Muzaffarabad Tehsil by 15th January.

11. There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that such displaced families will return even during the winter once they are re-assured that 'emergency shelter repair kits' (which include 10 CGI sheets each) and food are available. More and more NGOs are now engaged in activities connected with promotion of return.

12. GOP already has eleven forward distribution sites from which PakMil distribute CGI sheets for their own transitional shelter construction programme. Some 133,000 such shelters have been constructed to date and use ten sheets per structure. The 'Winter Race' programme, of which this activity is a part, was targeted above 5000ft until 15th December and started in mid-November. It can therefore be assumed to have met the majority of needs for the 400,000 people estimated to be remaining above this elevation. It should be pointed out, however, that anecdotal evidence suggests this is not the case, and gaps in relief provision at altitudes above this remain. That is why the international humanitarian community is working with local volunteers and national NGO counterparts to provide over 20 'Mountain Rapid Assessment Teams' above the snow-line through the Winter.

13. FRC has ordered 15,000 CGI sheets per day from the 'Pakistan Steel Mill Company'. Of these 1,000 per day are now being directed to 'utility stores' throughout the affected area where individuals can purchase using their compensation grant at a fixed price controlled by GOP. Total manufacturing output capacity is estimated to be 24,000 per day.

14. By the end of December there will be over 25 assessment teams from five agencies (IOM, WFP, UNOPS, UNJLC, NRC -- excluding NATO who have alpine engineers active in their Bagh TAOR) active in high altitude areas conducting village by village needs assessments, and calling forward relief supplies as needed. There is a need now to consolidate coordination mechanisms for these teams, and set up systems to ensure that sufficient systems are in place to support their operations through the winter.

15. Over 1.9 million people are estimated to be living in 300,000 tents in earthquake-affected areas. Two thirds of such families have constructed home-build stoves within the tent for cooking and heating. The remainder use open fires. These fires are increasingly to be found inside tents as temperatures drop below freezing. All vulnerable groups use candles. Naked flame poses a considerable fire hazard. Already, some fifty tent fires have been recorded with consequent loss of life and destruction of all family assets.

16. The Emergency Shelter Cluster has formulated a risk reduction strategy with the objectives of: (i) Raising awareness of fire hazard risk among all affected families; (ii) Informing all family members about risk mitigation measures; (iii) Informing all family members of what actions to take in response to fire outbreak. Activities currently underway include educational and capacity-building components.

17. By the end of December there will be over 25 assessment teams from five agencies (IOM, WFP, UNOPS, UNJLC, NRC -- excluding NATO who have alpine engineers active in their Bagh TAOR) active in high altitude areas conducting village by village needs assessments, and calling forward relief supplies as needed. There is a need now to consolidate coordination mechanisms for these teams, and set up systems to ensure that sufficient systems are in place to support their operations through the winter.

18. Some key issues include Incorporation of GOP's (FRC and PakMil) distribution data, especially blankets and Price control, especially of CGI sheets; Fire hazard and risk mitigation measures, including awareness-raising (on-going); Support systems for high-altitude assessment teams (on-going).

19. In Battagram, the DfID-funded winterization of shelters is being implemented locally with an initial 10,000 CGI sheets arriving in a few days and targeted to underserved Union Councils through implementing NGOs. A second batch of an additional 10.000 is expected afterwards.

20. In Battagram, IOM remote assessment teams have partnered with the WFP quake jumpers to identify shelter and NFI needs in remote areas of Kohistan, with the aim to have a 3-day turn around for distribution.

21. In Bagh the distribution of shelter materials, winterization kits for tents and quilts continues in Bagh district. Post-distribution monitoring is also ongoing. ADRA, for example, distributes 6,000 quilts a day on the basis of a consolidated Pakistan army list. IOM translated the winterization leaflet into Urdu. Information on fire safety is included in the leaflet. Problems are encountered with regard to the number of distributed CGI sheets and reported piling of sheets in some locations. Organizations are advised to distribute the agreed number of 10 CGI sheets per household and comply with the coordinated distribution plan. GOAL further reported customs problems at Karachi port, delaying the delivery of CGI sheets.


22. The overall utilisation of UNHAS-tasked assets is 80 to 90%. This number takes into consideration that passenger flights do not use the full loading capacity of the helicopters. This indicates that enough cargo capacity is available. Furthermore, with the use of sling nets and US Military helicopter operations expected to stay stable for at least another month, no capacity problems are anticipated for now. According to the Logistics Bulletin, camps for aid workers continue to fill up. NGOs are trying to rent local housing, but there is little availability

23. The relief operation's air capacity has declined slightly over the last week with the repatriation of one of the German CH-53s due to maintenance requirements. However, UNHAS has brought in an additional MI-8 which is based in Abbottabad and has started rotation.

24. The fuel farm in Abbottabad provided by the French is expected to stay in country on a bilateral agreement. As reported earlier, two German helicopters will be available on a bilateral agreement past the 1st of February.

25. One of the four German helicopters has left the country already due to maintenance requirements. As reported earlier, all helicopters will have to leave the country for maintenance, but two replacements will be brought in. The German Minister of Defence has confirmed this.

26. The Government of Pakistan and the Pakistani Military will try to keep important roads open where possible. It might be possible to keep roads leading to the Neelum Valley open throughout the winter

27. The focus of U.S. Military activities is conducting helicopter operations using sling-loads out of Muzaffarabad. Furthermore, assessments will be carried out.

28. No formal system is in place yet for the clearance of reconstruction goods. UNJLC is liasing with the government to get a tax exemption in place

29. According to the logs bottleneck reports ICRC is expecting 15,000 tents to arrive before the 1st of January. They will be distributed by road.

30. According to the logistics report, UNJLC staff is currently in the field to establish information structures at the hub-level, which enable information collection at that level.

31. WFP has gone back to the Norwegian Government to request that they allocate the funds directly to the service providers, as per the proposals that have been submitted (ATLAS, UNOPS, IOM, UNHAS, WFP). Norway did not approve this request and will allocate all funds to WFP. WFP will work on a mechanism to allocate these funds to the respective agencies. If WFP will be responsible for reporting back to the donor on this contribution, there might be some indirect support costs that have to be charged.

32. It was informed that food has been propositioned for a period of three months for the high altitude areas, about 40% beneficiaries that have not yet received food. Food distribution will be finalized during the last week of December.

33. Cooperating partners were requested to prepare and submit one month's distribution plan, so that WFP can prepare food release notes in advance.

34. In Mansehra Logistics is planning to establish a system of pre-paid fuel vouchers for all humanitarian agencies interested in participating. Logistics shelter reiterated the need for planning and 48 hours of notice when scheduling helicopter service for high altitude


35. In Battagram, WHO are currently assessing their planned support of BHU rehabilitation in Shangla and Kohistan.

36. In Battagram, the Malaysian Field hospital is planned to be closed on 15th January and the issue of handover has been raised.

37. In Muzaffarabad, UNICEF and WHO are currently carrying out an assessment of health facilities and services available in all the camps to address any gaps. There is still no major threat of epidemics in the camps although cases of measles and diarrhoea have been reported.

38. In Bagh, a WHO survey shows that urgent action is required to provide short term grief counselling, followed by long term community based training, to the earthquake affected population. The symptoms are severe and range from depression and anxiety to PTSD and behaviour change. Capacities to cope with the problem are hardly existent in Bagh district. The mental health situation of earthquake affected populations in Bagh district appears to be serious and requires urgent attention. A local WHO survey and reports of hospitals and mobile clinics show that children, women, men, and elderly people suffer to varying degrees from depression, anxiety and PTSD. The main reasons are accumulated loss and grief. Children, for example, are reported to demonstrate unusual behaviours in schools and at home, ranging from listlessness to disobedience and learning problems. Similarly affected are social workers and hospital staff. Bagh district neither has the resources nor the means to cope with the problem. WHO mental health experts recommend grief counselling, followed by a district wide community-based training programme for social workers. UNICEF has already trained 36 outreach community workers. Assistance in grief counselling and the development of a comprehensive training programme is urgently needed.

39. In Bagh, the NATO field hospital will close down in January. Consequently the MSF/B hospital will face increased numbers of OPD patients. The health cluster reports that NATO will be leaving and will be replaced by Agha Khan University team in Bagh.

40. WHO confirmed that no more cases of jaundice are reported and that full investigation samples were taken and sent to Islamabad. The health cluster meeting takes a two-week break and resumes its activities in January.

41. In Mansehra, UNICEF--Phase 3 routine immunization campaign commenced on 20 December 2005 targeting both established and spontaneous camps. It includes measles vaccination for those children not covered in previous campaigns from 6-months to 15yrs. Other antigens are OPV, DPT, BCG, HepB, Meningitis as per National Policy. Monitoring ongoing through UNICEF and WHO.

42. MoH has distributed camp management guidelines especially for the spontaneous camps.


43. According to the Watsan cluster the government in Muzaffarabad announced that the sites that had been identified for new camps to decongest overcrowded camps would be held for contingency. UNHCR needs these camps now, and is trying to sort the matter out with the government. UNHCR will likely wait until Friday


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