Pakistan

Pakistan - Earthquake: OCHA Situation Report No. 31

Ref: OCHA/GVA/2006/0003

OCHA Situation Report No. 31
South Asia - Earthquake
Pakistan

Heavy snow and rain in the earthquake-effected areas grounded helicopter operations and seriously hampered relief operations over the past week. According to the latest logistics report, most of the major routes around Muzaffarabad, Mansehra, Bagh and Batagram with the major exception of the Neelum Valley road have now reopened. Helicopters began operations again as of January 3rd, but more bad weather is expected. UNJLC will be posting daily road updates and a corresponding map on a daily basis over periods of inclement weather conditions.

All sub-offices reported severely limited operations for the last few days, with operations slowly picking up on Tuesday. The cold and harsh weather conditions may trigger migration from the upper mountains to lower area, and will most likely stall air and land transportations, which may have multiple implications for the relief operations.

Situation Overview

During the reporting period, there was a significant change of weather conditions with an increase in the rain and the snow. Heavy rain began in Batagram in the morning of 1st January, continuing on the 2nd with snow on the adjacent hills above 5000 feet. According to the Pakistan army there were 6-8 inches of snow in Bana town (Allai valley), and 4 feet of snow in the higher elevation of the Allai valley. Additionally reports of an avalanche in Gunta valley, although no confirmation of casualties was made.

The UN camp in Batagram was flooded due to the rains which damaged the tents of around one hundred families- who were then given the option by WFP to re-allocate victims to storage tents if necessary. The flooding also caused a reverse in the transition of camp management from military to civilian authorities. The military has returned to manage the Medan camp in Battagram after the rain-induced floods.

The decrease of the ongoing migration of people from higher elevations into camps in Batagram changed because of the difficult weather condition, with around 100 families reportedly entering Maira camp on 1st January.

At a meeting of all agencies, NGOs and the Pakistani Army in Batagram, it was decided to immediately distribute food and warm clothing. Participants also agreed to assess the feasibility of relocating the affected camp population. Several options, such as vacant offices, WFP rubbhalls, buildings and madressa's had been identified.

According to reports from the Mansehra Hub, the heavy rains created flooding in the camp and in the transitional settlements. Although the flooding has now subsided, the deteriorating weather conditions have triggered many representatives of camp communities to approach the camp management cluster for assistance.

NRC reports also indicate that many affected people have complained of their tents being blown away due to heavy winds. There is concern that shelter may be required for 5,000 ft and above to replace non-winterized tents.

Based on the Pakistani Military's information, the Mansehra Hub reports that no camp relocations or population movements have been observed. There is speculation however that the recent weather improvement may see some IDPs seek to relocate their tents and may also see some earthquake-affected persons descend from the mountains. On average a total of 245 persons are arriving in areas under the Mansehra Hub's responsibility on a daily basis with some going to stay with relatives and friends; a few arriving in transitional settlements; and many engaging in 'look see' visits and then returning to higher altitudes.

Mansehra reports that all spontaneous camps (more than 400 according to the Pakistani Army) require immediate assistance. The Regional Relief Commissioner (RRC) is now responsible for these camps and the Pakistani Army and UNHCR have a list of spontaneous camps that need to be serviced.

According to WFP, rain, snow, sleet and hail have resulted in numerous landslides and fallen rocks throughout the area of operations and in Muzaffarabad. Road conditions in Muzaffarabad town have also deteriorated. There are fallen rocks and debris on the roads throughout the city.

The latest Camp Management figures show the following (due to the refined definition of what constitutes a camp, the number of camps has reduced significantly):

- Mansehra has 7 planned camps and 21 spontaneous camps with a total population of 17,302;

- Abbotabad has 1 planned camp and 2 spontaneous camps with a total population of 6,703;

- Balakot has 4 planned camps and 16 spontaneous camps with a total population of 16,863,

- Batagram has 5 planned camps with a total population of 21,127. There are no spontaneous camps in Batagram;

- Muzaffarabad has 9 planned camps and 49 spontaneous camps with a total population of 65,756;

- Bagh has 25 spontaneous camps with a total population of 9,257.

Camp heating is now essential in large and spontaneous camps where people are suffering from the cold. As a Government policy, no naked flames are allowed in individual tents. Instead candles, gas cylinders and kerosene heaters should be located in community warming places, including communal kitchens.

It was initially decided that the Regional Relief Commissioner as part of NWFP Government will take over the management of planned camp sites but the policy has been changed and the Army is continuing to manage planned camp sites where they are already established and RRC will focus on spontaneous establishment as phase one of the hand over.

NRC has been invited by the Army and UNHCR to support camp management. As part of the effort NRC is planning to set up three camp management mobile support teams (Balakot, Batagram, Muzaffarabad). These teams would contain technical staff that can do quick impact technical interventions in camps.

Food Distribution

The primary concern is that the deteriorating weather conditions and the resultant loss in delivery time may disrupt supply of foods to the remote campsites.

WFP provided ready-to-eat rations (High Energy Biscuits and Dates) to families unable to cook due to loss of firewood and shelter.

The caseload for general food distribution to Mansehra has been revised and raised from 45,000 to 83,000 from January 06. More than 127 MT of food was dispatched to three Union Councils in last week by WFP.

According to the Logistics report, NRSP has completed the distribution of 198 MT of food for 9,171 beneficiaries living in 23-tented camps for one month in Bagh. The ration distribution before the rains was very helpful to avert food shortages at household level. Distribution in schools is suspended due to winter vacations.

According to the Mansehra Hub report, following the 1 December 2005 NWFP-WFP Food Agreement the NWFP Government has now delivered wheat (only) in the Mansehra District and Abbottabad District. No other food items have been delivered in these districts.

In Bagh, the bad weather condition adversely effected the entire population living in the tents. Dispatches of food for distribution halted for three days. The weather situation on 3rd January improved a bit; however, all roads leading to Final Delivery Points (FDPs) are blocked which will further hamper the transport of relief goods.

Spontaneous and official camps requiring WFP food support are now agreed. WFP has received a list of spontaneous and official camps, including caseloads from the Regional Relief Commissioner (RRC). WFP has also received the RRC's recommendations on local implementing partners and UNAP, SRSP and BEST have been asked to draft proposals for WFP's review and action. Food deliveries will proceed once proposals have been reviewed and accepted by WFP.

Road Access

Currently, all the roads to Mera, Behsam, Shang, Alpuri, Bana and Kohistan are blocked.

All major roads leading to Batagram (Batagram-Mansehra, Batagram-Besham and Thakot-Bana road) were closed at one point and the helicopter flights only resumed on 3rd January.

All roads into the Kaghan and Siran Valleys are closed due to 9ft of snow. Two (2) landslides have occurred in the Kaghan Valley and the army is waiting to clear these slides, as they are still active. 2ft of snow in Chatter Plains has closed the Karakorum Highway between Mansehra and Batagram.

Due to the heavy snowfall in some parts of Mansehra District, the Balakot-Kaghan valley road was reported closed and the Mansehra-Chatter Plane-Battagram was reported to be closed at Battal Valley.

In Muzaffarabad, the latest update of road conditions received from UNDSS and UNJLC is as follows:

- Neelum Valley Road - CLOSED. The first landslide is located 6.23KM from the UN base;

- Jhelum Valley Road - CLOSED. The first landslide is located just over 4Km from UN base;

- Leepa Valley Road - CLOSED. This Road is closed from January through March/April;

- Muzaffarabad - Muree - Islamabad Road - CLOSED.

Security

According to DSS, missions beyond Balakot are no longer allowed.

Dozens of quake survivors forced their way onto two U.N. helicopters involved in the relief effort. Under threats, the helicopters carried approximately twenty people to Muzaffarabad and Abbotabad. A Pakistani Air Safety officer was hit by villagers. As a result, UNHAS has cancelled all planned flights into Banamula and Lepa. Full investigations are under way on the incidents, including on the existing options for villagers to relocate to prevent future incidents of this nature.

GENERAL INFORMATION

1. All detailed cluster information (meeting minutes, assessments, contact information etc.) is being posted on www.un.org.pk.

2. 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).

3. Contact details of focal points for information on in-kind and cash contributions can be found at http://www.un.org.pk/earthquake05/ .

4. 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.

Tel.: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23
E-mail: ochagva@un.org

In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

Desk Officers:

Ms. Merete Johansson, direct Tel. +41-22-9171694
Mr. Guido Galli, direct Tel. +41-22-9173171

Press contact:

(GVA) Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, direct Tel. +41-22-917 2653
(N.Y.) Ms. Stephanie Bunker, direct Tel. + 1-917 367 5126

Disclaimer

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