Pakistan - Earthquake: OCHA Situation Report No. 32

Ref: OCHA/GVA/2006/0005

OCHA Situation Report No. 32
South Asia - Earthquake

Winter is testing the capacity of the humanitarian community. The reaction to very bad weather conditions in the first days of January was generally good, but unexpected snow below 5,000 ft. created serious problems. The response included the prompt distribution of food, tents and blankets. Mortality levels did not increase as a result of this situation but respiratory infections did as temperature dropped. The priorities of the humanitarian community remain: (i) Winterized tents; (ii) Iron sheets where needed; (iii) Heating in family or communal tents.


The first significant snow and rainfalls of the year came in at the beginning of January. There were widespread reports of tent collapses under snowfall, for both the earthquake-affected population and relief organisations. OCHA is coordinating multi-cluster rapid response activities at the Hub-level to mitigate any further effects while the winterisation programme continues. According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department, earthquake-hit areas are likely to be affected by another active westerly weather system. This system is likely to cause moderate and at times heavy snowfall between 14 and 19 January.

The transition process from shelter to housing has begun with a Housing Taskforce headed by UN-HABITAT being formed and now holding joint coordination meetings with the Emergency Shelter cluster and FRC. All Emergency Shelter Cluster meetings in Islamabad are now either joint meetings with the camp management or housing/early recovery clusters.

The key populations of concern are vulnerable families and those populations who have been displaced and who are in settlements of less than 50 tents. The total number of displaced persons, as opposed to those who are either landless or 'making do' within their areas of origin, is not known. A registration exercise by local civil authorities is currently underway.

According to the Shelter Cluster, a National Disaster Management Agency is to be set up to provide an institutional response to an emergency, whenever one arises. Key hazards remain aftershocks, land slippage, subsidence, and flash flooding in the summer and following winters for populations who remain in temporary shelters.

Mountain Rapid Assessment Teams (Quake-Jumpers & M-RATs) are now coordinated through OCHA, with the support of NRC.

The number of acute respiratory infection (ARI) cases is still the highest among reported diseases. The pattern of a steady increase in ARI reflects the combined effects of cold weather and the lack of adequate shelter. Between 10 December 2005 and 6 January 2006, a total of 290,063 health events under surveillance were reported, of which 20% (58,865) were reported as acute respiratory infection (ARI), 6% (16,989) were acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) and 5% (16,018) as injuries (INJ). In the same period, there were 42 reported deaths; of them 40% were ARI-related, 10% injury-related and 2% were AWD-related deaths.

Logistics reports that IOM is receiving DFID donation of 176,000 blankets, 125,000 tarpaulins, 120,000 ropes and 6000 shelter kits (consisting of 8 pcs of CGI sheeting and 2 blankets) which will be dispatched to Bagh, Batagram, Balakot, Muzaffarabad and Mansehra in the coming days.

The Pakistan Military has provided an outline on the required procedures to ensure that helicopters do not cross the border and the line of control. Logistics cluster reports that 2 additional MI-8 are scheduled to arrive shortly - which will bring the total number of MI8s to 16.

The US Military received 150 slings yesterday, which will be moved to Muzaffarabad. The US Military has requested additional sites for sling-loads. According to UNHAS, 2 US Chinooks will be operating out of Abbotabad and 2 out of Muzaffarabad. UNHAS will receive 50 nets from the American Military today, which will facilitate sling loads out of Chattarplan, Abbotabad and Bagh.

The Muzaffarabad hub reports an apparent disconnect between field clusters and the counter-part cluster in Islamabad. Attention on jurisdictions / expectations of each and inter-cluster communication is required. Muzaffarabad also reports that large international NGOs have become increasingly outspoken about their dissatisfaction with the cluster format and have described that they find little opportunity to discuss policy orientated or cross-cluster questions within the individual cluster.

The cluster leads in the Bagh Hub identified the following for better coordination: definition of TORs for cluster heads, provide protocols for cluster leads and copies of inter-agency agreements, provide cluster specific HIC products, increase office staff (currently limited due to base camp space constraints), improved PakMil participation in cluster meetings, provide clear Islamabad guidelines on interim and reconstruction phase.

There is a pressing need in the camps for hot water for bathing. UNICEF has agreed to support this requirement and is currently field-testing two prototypes for heating water. ACF is planning to construct 12 communal baths in the Balakot area.

A number of Cluster members emphasized the huge need for rehabilitation of water supply schemes in rural areas. With this in mind, UNICEF this week seconded a highly qualified engineer to ERRA as the Water Supply and Sanitation Coordinator. A 3-month work plan has been prepared and a presentation will be made next week to the Water and Sanitation Cluster.

In Mansehra, the District Rehabilitation Plan was launched and the humanitarian community encouraged to interact more with elected civilian authorities.

The distribution of warm clothes and shoes for vulnerable groups in Bagh is ongoing. Urgently needed are warm boots and shoes for children. The registration of vulnerable groups in Bagh district continues. SC-UK sets up additional child-friendly spaces in camps.



1. The key populations of concern are vulnerable families and those populations who have been displaced and are in a settlement of less than 50 tents. They currently remain outside of the mandate of the camp management cluster.

2. The key needs for tents have now been served. The current policy is for the upgrade (with plastic sheeting, rope and appropriate clothing / bedding) of existing tents rather than for whole scale distribution.

3. With high altitude areas almost covered, Bagh shelter activities focus on medium and low altitude areas. Shelter partners agreed to conduct a joint verification, supported by radio messages. According to PakMil, approximately 400,000 CGI sheets were distributed. In addition, large numbers of winterized kits were distributed. A PakMil survey shows that 40 to 50% of non-winterized tents collapsed during last week's snow and rain emergency. Bagh District is in great need of winterized tents.


1. There is a lack of pipeline information at the field level. This is making it difficult for UNJLC to obtain information for reporting on the pipeline.

2. Currently, three German Stallions are operating for UNHAS. One of these will leave on 15 January. UNHAS has recently seen a small but significant upturn in requests for NFI cargo transport.

3. UNHAS has received 20 nets (2.5mt) on 4 January and an additional 50 nets (5 mt) will be available as of 5 January.

4. A DFID in-kind donation will secure the air operation with 4 MI8s until 3 May.

5. IOM is providing a free bus service that operates 10 buses daily from Balakot, Gari Habibullah, Basian, Boie and onto Brarkot on the NWFP/Pakistan-administered Kashmir border. More than 3,000 people per day have used the service for short trips to town and back for food, medical and personal needs.

6. The aggressive manner in which passengers approached the helicopter pilots has exposed the need for a policy on what to do with unauthorised passengers.

7. There were 4 reported incidents where WFP / UNHAS helicopters were compelled to take on passengers that were not manifested. The pilots were at least uncomfortable if not aggressed by these people. Upon investigation, it appears that a change in policy about who can and who cannot, when and when not travel on UNHAS flights has not been effectively communicated. Nonetheless, the incidents exposed a need for a protocol for pilots on what to do in such circumstances.


1. UNFPA informed the cluster that their first prefab/rural health centre will be in place on 10 January in Shohol Najaf Khan in Mansehra. Four of the prefab-BHUs that WHO is planning to erect before the end of January are already in place in Balakot. The structures are currently produced in Ghari Habibullah in Balakot.

2. The weekly disease pattern in Bagh indicates that the proportion of bloody and water diarrhoea cases is becoming stable. The number of cases has been increasing consistently over the previous three weeks.

3. In Bagh, six cases of suspected hepatitis were reported this week. WHO is coordinating public health measures with NGOs and other UN agencies for provision of clean water and other activities.

4. Thirty-five water samples were taken from Lariyan in Bagh Tehsil in response to the 16 suspected acute jaundice syndrome cases in this area. The samples have been sent to the National Institute for Health in Islamabad and results are pending.

5. In Batagram, two cases of clinical measles were found in Landian Village. The team however examined vaccination coverage and found that a recent immunization campaign had a coverage of over 95%.

6. The local Government Rural Development Department in Muzaffarabad has agreed to conduct a rapid technical assessment focusing on health facilities of 50 villages in Muzaffarabad District with the support of WHO.

7. One third of consultations for mental health were of individuals suffering from depression. Another third were cases of either anxiety or acute stress reaction. The ratio of females to males is almost equal. It is worth noting that between 13% to 20% of these cases were children, except in Balakot and Batagram where children comprised 28% and 21% of consultations, respectively. Mental health service provision up to 24 December 2005 is detailed in Table 1 below.

8. In Balakot, approximately 500 consultations were reported this week with the main causes of consultation reported to be anxiety, depression and phobias. About 22 cases were referred to Peshawar for psychiatric admission.

9. There is concern in Muzaffarabad that there is no isolation location of any sort in any of the hospitals. Measles is a very serious disease in the context of displaced populations, especially when hygiene standards are not high. Therefore, the WHO representative is in discussions with the Directors of local hospitals. The PakMil will erect a Chinese winterized tent to serve at their own military hospital location as an isolation location if and when required.

10. Mansehra reports that the Dara Camp is underserved, especially in terms of water and sanitation, essential drugs and Primary Health Care services.


1. 818 of 5,000 tents locally procured by UNICEF have been delivered. In Mansehra, 377 tents were provided to UNICEF partners to establish tent schools for a target population of 15,080 children.

2. Supplementary reading materials for pre-primary through Class 6 are arriving in Islamabad. They will be packed into sets and delivered to UNICEF's implementing partners.

3. The heavy snow and rainfall have disrupted distribution of supply. However, schools remain closed until 16 January due to winter holiday.

4. 250 schools have been covered in Bagh for the School Assessment initiated by the Department of Education and UNICEF with support from Sungi.


1. Muzaffarabad reports that UNICEF have distributed 8,247 hygiene kits, 1,519 jerry cans and 585 buckets and 1,345 sanitary latrine slabs in 15 villages in Muzaffarabad and other high altitude areas.

2. UNICEF has also put in 75 garbage drums and 437 bins in 2 of the largest camps around Muzaffarabad.

3. In Mansehra, a Swedish Red Cross water treatment plant is supplying Balakot city through water trucking. To increase the water delivery it will be preferable to restore and rehabilitate reliable water sources to expand the capacity of the water treatment plant. Such rehabilitation work will have to await the redesign of the Balakot City (possible another six months) as well as the details of population settlements made available by the Government.

4. The recent rains in Mansehra have contaminated water sources and extra attention should be paid to water testing as no water testing has taken place outside established camps. Due to sustainability issues not all community water supplies can be treated.

5. Following the bad weather in Bagh, Oxfam conducted a WatSan Bagh town assessment and repaired 25 damaged latrines. Latrines need CGI sheets to protect them from future snow loads. In cooperation with WatSan partners, UNICEF reviewed the material needs as part of contingency planning. UNICEF will have 50 sets of hygiene materials ready within a week and capacity will be enhanced through training events.


1. According to the cluster reports, the Pakistani Army expect 120,000- 200,000 people to come down from the villages to the camps in the coming weeks. UNICEF Protection will focus on the following steps:

- Camps (priority)

a. Monitoring and support of the vulnerable population

b. Awareness raising (empowerment of the vulnerable, capacity building of local NGOs, authorities etc.)

c. Mainstreaming protection in all humanitarian efforts and among the clusters

d. Children Friendly Spaces (also with an increased focus on the adolescent children to prevent the formation of groups/gangs that easily lead to security problems)

- Villages

a. Assessment of the vulnerable groups, their needs and what can be done from the protection cluster

b. Establishment of a referral system

c. Awareness raising


1. In Mansehra, Pakistani authorities and UNHCR are undertaking registration of people in camps of more than 50 tents. Registration will be conducted in 57 camps: 39 spontaneous, 12 army-administered, 3 RRC administered and 1 DCO administered camp. The collected data will be fed into a database, which the authorities and UNHCR will maintain and up-date.

2. In a joint exercise in Bagh, PakMil, UNHCR and WFP relocated 220 individuals from Behdi Union Council to Namanpura camp. UNICEF distributed warm clothes to children in camps and throughout the district. UNHCR has started the registration of people living in 25 spontaneous camps. Preparations are made for the distribution of heating facilities in the spontaneous camps. Collapsed tents have been re-erected and blankets been distributed.


1. WFP Bagh has started a major airlift operation to provide a total of 496.99 MT to Behdi Union Council. So far, 117.43 MT have been airlifted to this remote, snow-covered high altitude area.

2. UNJLC presence is supporting the airlift operation in Bedhi. OCHA went up to Bedhi to monitor the distribution process. WFP also distributes one box (20 kg) of dates to each family in 25 spontaneous camps during Eid holidays. A total of 32 MT of dates will be distributed. The WFP distribution of food in the other Union Councils continues as planned.

3. WFP has adopted the following food strategy for the month of January in MZD district: Agreed beneficiary target is 455,919 people, which makes the total food requirement 6,429 tonnes. A standard food basket contains wheat flour, pulses, vegetable oil and salt. However, when an area is hit by snow, the subsequent deliveries will be attuned to the prospect that people may have little capacity to cook; therefore, the food basket will contain high-energy biscuits and dates.


Muzaffarabad reported the weather to be cold in medium and high altitude areas, and although there was no snowfall during this reporting period, weather reports suggest that a storm is to be expected for this coming weekend.

Bagh reported conditions to be cold and overcast, with snow in medium and high altitude areas. The situation has stabilized after last week's weather emergency and the distribution of relief goods continues, focusing mostly on vulnerable groups in medium altitude areas and camp populations. A preparedness plan for snow emergencies has been finalized. A health emergency cell is established with the aim of monitoring the situation. The DHQ Bagh needs heaters, electricity, containers /prefabs, and human resources. No major population movements were reported with the exception of the airlifting of vulnerable people from Behdi Union Council to Namanpura camp.

There is concern in Mansehra regarding the preparedness of agencies and clusters to properly function in case snow should limit or hinder access to beneficiaries. Concerns were also raised regarding staff safety in case of the need for the extraction of stranded or injured staff.

The health cluster partners discussed the impact of the rains and the snow in the various affected areas. Besides, the delay in the delivery of acute relief items, the snow, and the rains have caused havoc in some areas. Flooding of some camps and the accumulated snow have caused the collapse of tented health facilities.

There were reports that many of the people taken from the mountains to Meira camp in Allai are now planning to return to their original villages, since the tents are not properly winterized.

UNFPA have distributed additional plastic sheets to winterize the tents in a camp in Mansehra. They have also provided one mobile service unit (MSU) in Muzaffarabad and five MSUs in Bagh with these extra sheets. The MSUs have been affected but are still providing services of maternal and child care (deliveries, abortion etc).

In Rawalakot, the outpatient departments, operation theatres, X-rays and laboratory tents of the Jordanian field hospitals and part of the Cuban field hospital in Banguin collapsed due to the heavy snow that fell. WHO team in Rawalakot assessed the damage and found that for a period of 2-3 days until the snow is removed, a third of the service availability in terms of OPD services and referral for minor surgeries has been lost. WHO sent winterized tents, heaters, jerry cans and blankets from Islamabad to Rawalakot to cover some of the gaps.

After extensive consultations, the shelter cluster reports that in virtually all cases, tent collapse following the 1st January snows was due to improper tent erection and people not clearing falling snow from roofs. It is anticipated by most actors on the ground that people will learn from their mistakes and clear snow to prevent collapse in future heavy snow falls. However, response teams are being set up in coordination with OCHA, and concerns do remain for coping with future bad weather spells.

Flooding has occurred in sites where tents have been pitched in farmland (rice paddies). This is due to a mixture of poor soil conditions (high clay content), lack of drainage and tents not being raised. The most affected formal sites, including Medan camp in Battagram, have since had a drainage dug and beneficiaries have been offered relocation options by UNHCR in collaboration with the civil authorities. Response teams will also follow up on drainage-related issues as well as tent collapse issues.

According to the logistics bottleneck report, the Interagency warehouse at Chatterplain is inadequately prepared for the winter weather. Trucks have been getting stuck in the mud while unloading, blocking access to other vehicles and disrupting air services. The problem is also likely to occur elsewhere. Gravel should be laid and other winterisation procedures followed for all warehouses in locations prone to mud in order to prevent further such bottlenecks.

In Muzaffarabad, an Emergency Response Team has been established with a 3-point plan to facilitate the emergency response to those adversely affected by the snowstorms. These are: (1) an active weather watch; (2) identifying organizations with extra capacity and ready to move when a snowstorm subsides and; (3) establishing an Emergency Cell, with assigned physical space, maps, phones etc and staffed by 4 representatives (IOM, CMO, MZD Municipal Govt, and Pak Mil) who will direct the response action immediately post snow fall.


The majority of roads have reopened due to road clearing efforts and an improvement in the weather conditions. However, snow, ice and landslides are still slowing traffic along many routes. Snow chains are recommended for all road travel. Certain areas are now only accessible to 4WD vehicles. Daily road updates and corresponding maps are posted on the UNJLC website (

After instances of vehicles and some aircraft getting stuck on the Abbottobad Helicopter Landing Zone due to lack of adequate winterisation, matters are in hand to make the helipad surfaces compatible with vehicles in winter weather conditions. However if this does not take place rapidly, UNHAS airlift operations could become severely restricted.

The use of surface transport is currently limited in the area of Batagram. IOM has requested assistance from UNHAS/UNJLC and the Pakistani military to move relief goods by air.

Bagh reports

- Bagh - Dhuli - Lasdanna - Muhammad Gali - Kahutta: closed / snow

- Bagh- Rawalakhot - Bandi Abbaspur: open for 4 x 4 with ice and snow

- Bagh - Bir Pani - Sudddiam Gali: open for trucks, snow and ice

- Suddiam Gali - Muzaffarabad: closed due to snow

- Suddiam Gali - Merar: closed due to landslides

- Bagh - Arja - Dhirkot - Islamabad: open for all traffic

- Bagh - Arja - Rawalakot - Islamabad: closed, for emergency exit use only

- 8. Bagh - Arja - Dahalkot - Rawalpinid - closed, for emergency exit use only

DSS has reopened the Leepa site.


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

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 ( information on earthquake appeals and funding is available on ReliefWeb (

3. Contact details of focal points for information on in-kind and cash contributions can be found at .

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

Tel.: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23

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


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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