OCHA Situation Report No. 34
South Asia - Earthquake
Regular breaks in the winter weather have allowed the UN and humanitarian agencies to step up deliveries of assistance to earthquake-affected populations. Twenty-seven UNHAS relief helicopters have been operational, delivering aid and deploying rapid response relief teams to high altitude and low-lying areas. The usual distribution of food, tents and blankets, and other non-food items, (NFIs) continued throughout the week, with particular attention to the delivery of warm clothes for children, as temperatures continued to drop.
Although a sense of cautious optimism has been observed about the relief operations in the affected areas, the priorities of the humanitarian community remain unchanged for this reporting period: (i) Keeping the survivors warm; (ii) winterizing tents and providing corrugated galvanized iron (CGI) sheets; (iii) providing heating in family/communal tents, in school tents and hospitals while at the same time ensuring that safety measures are in place; and (iv) improving the sanitation conditions in the camps.
Preparations for worsening weather conditions:
Preparations are underway to face the anticipated worsening of the weather over the next few days. Priority is being given to the winterization of tents, heating of communal and individual tents, distribution of warm clothes to children and other activities to prevent outbreaks of disease in the aftermath of the bad weather.
Specific needs of 'Under-50 Tent' camps:
Addressing the needs of spontaneous camps of less than 50 tents (under 50-tent camps) remains an urgent priority. In NWFP and PAK, the emergency shelter and camp management clusters are working closely to identify the particular needs of earthquake survivors in these camps. In Muzaffarabad, a rapid assessment is underway to address the immediate needs in these camps, and so far about 40 such camps have been identified. The preliminary findings are that the humanitarian needs are not sufficiently covered and the assistance provided to date has been on an ad-hoc basis. The most urgent needs identified are: winterisation of tents, blankets, tarpaulin/plastic sheets, and food. The camps are not well organized and mostly without management, with many of the residents coming from the Muzaffarabad area. Three NGOs will look into providing assistance to the 40 camps.
A similar assessment of 'under 50-tent' camps is ongoing in 540 known sites in Mansehra involving 23 assessment teams. The results of the assessment, which is planned to end on 29 January, will be released by 4 February.
Potential return of affected population:
Planning by the Emergency Shelter Cluster (ESC) for 'transitional shelter and return' is accelerating. The Cluster's Strategic Planning Group is working closely with the Camp Management, Livelihoods, Housing, and Early Recovery clusters, to prepare for a UNDP-ERRA workshop on the subject, scheduled for 8-9 February. Existing Cluster arrangements are expected to 'merge and morph' under the guidance of the new Transition Coordinator during the intervening period.
Although the return and repatriation of displaced populations should happen on a voluntary basis, there is an increasing concern that in order to avoid the bottleneck of combining the rural and urban population in the complex setting of city rebuilding, the rural population may have to return to their villages. The "high altitude teams" are involved with the identification of the emergency shelter requirements and will include a "returns" component in this programme.
There is talk amongst the population of returning to their homes in the higher altitudes in the near future (mid-February to end of February) and for the first time, field monitors (IOM) in Muzaffarabad reported that some people are returning to the mountain areas - but on a very small scale. For instance, in Danna town (Maciyiara Union Council), around 6,900ft of altitude and with 4ft of snow, 25 families returned during the reporting week. The pull-factors have been the distribution of NFIs for construction and the good weather. A larger scale return can be expected in the coming weeks if the good weather conditions continue.
In Battagram, the planning assumption by PAKMIL and the local authorities is that most people will return to their places of origin in early March. The camp management cluster is currently undertaking surveys to get a clearer picture of how many people will return and to what locations. The humanitarian community together with the GoP (PAKMIL and District Commissioner) will work closer to ensure that there is a coherent approach towards supporting the voluntary return process.
The people of the Allai valley reportedly refer to 15 February as the date the movement from valleys back to the high villages would begin as the weather is expected to improve by then. The same date was mentioned by the mayor of Muzaffarabad as the time when the urban population will move from Islamabad and surrounding areas back to regional centres such as Muzaffarabad.
Concerns on compensation policy:
The humanitarian community continues to express concern about the compensation policy for housing reconstruction of one fixed compensation package, regardless of the size of the house and the number of people that used to live there. In addition to that, the needs of vulnerable groups, such as widows and orphans, must be specifically addressed.
Transfer of responsibilities from military to civil authorities:
As the PAKMIL begins to scale down operations and transfer responsibilities to the civil authorities, more has to be done to increase the resources and capacity of the civil authorities in order to fulfill the transitional agreements and commitments.
Improved information management:
The Strategic Information Cell (SIC) established between the HIC, IOM, Shelter Cluster, FRC and UNJLC has been operating in a virtual manner since 15 December 2005. Its success has provided the impetus for an expanded "cross-Cluster" data exchange cell to improve the information management process and encourage greater data sharing. The first workshop took place on 24 January and involved representatives of all the Clusters and OCHA.
Distribution of relief items:
Distribution of emergency shelter materials are in the final phase, with inputs expected to peak in mid-February and finish by early March. Pipeline analysis shows a surge of non-food items reaching beneficiaries. Nonetheless, and as expected, poor weather conditions and related road-closures due to landslides have hampered distribution efforts to the more remote areas by road and air. Outstanding needs for winterization kits (including plastic sheets, ropes, and blankets), stoves for heating, and shelter repair kits remain, particularly in Rawalakot, North-West Allai valley, Shangla, and Khala Dhaka. The Emergency Shelter Cluster is requesting approximately 25 helicopter sorties per day (circa.50 metric tons) until mid-February to supplement distributions to medium and high elevations by road. Ad-hoc aerial distributions are required until end of April as pointed out by the high altitude assessment and monitoring teams.
WFP and FAO plan to provide seeds and chemical fertilizer for returnees to bring back to their respective villages. The recent rain and the landslides have however slowed down the movement of people, and may potentially affect the land use systems.
Training for relief workers:
In Bagh, the Norwegian Alpine Support Team conducted training on winter skills for about 20 participants from the humanitarian community on 22 January. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) started two-day basic Camp Management training courses in Urdu on 26 January. The target group comprises national staff from national and international NGOs, UN organizations, the Pakistani Government as well as from the Army or private initiatives involved in camp management or assistance.
1. The delivery of tents to date is reported as follows: FRC - 866,304 tents, of which the Emergency Shelter Cluster (ESC) reports deliveries of 472,842.
2. 388,245 temporary shelters have been constructed to date of which 247,176 by PAKMIL.
3. 3.1 million CGI sheets have been distributed out of a total of 4.8 million projected to have been distributed by mid-February.
4. The equivalent of 6.1 million blankets is expected to have been distributed by mid-February. This figure includes the 3.2 million blankets confirmed in the pipeline and those already distributed.
5. In Bagh, the "flying carpenters" scheme, which enables all NGOs to identify vulnerable families in need of technical assistance to improve and/or build adequate temporary shelter, was initiated by the ESC on 25 January. ARC, sponsored by 'People in Need', have several teams, who, upon directions by IOM as coordinating body, will build warm shelter from salvaged materials. UNOPS is also helping to identify vulnerable families with such needs and living in hard-to-reach areas.
1. The camp management cluster is well into its second phase of operations: delivering heating (stoves) and fuel (300,000 litres of kerosene so far distributed), and promoting awareness to deal with the event of fires in tents (fire extinguishers, fire points). The overall situation today can be described as stable although the challenges - overcrowding, health and fire hazards, sanitation conditions and trying to convince populations in the poorly run camps to move into better organised ones - do remain.
2. In Bagh, the population in the first planned camp, Namanpura, has increased and reached a total number of 119 families (654 individuals) as of 25 January. Efforts are being made to increase the capacity of the camp from 250 to 300-350 families. Most of the new arrivals are people who have been relocated from two of the spontaneous camps.
3. The distribution of fire-fighting equipment to the spontaneous camps is completed, with the distribution of heaters and kerosene continuing. The main constraints with the third site identified for a planned camp, Mang Salia, are landownership and access. It was reported by UNHCR that residents in one of the spontaneous camps (Dhulli) have returned to their villages after having received compensation to rebuild their houses.
4. 'World Vision' in Mansehra has offered to provide more than 5,600 stoves for family tents. The stoves adhere to the governmental requirement of having "no naked flame". Distribution of the stoves is to be accompanied by a fire safety equipment and education programme. UNHCR will provide kerosene for stoves until the end of March 2006.
5. In Mansehra, insufficient drainage of the camps continues to create problems. Digging deep is a solution whereas provision of gravel of paved drains is problematic as this may destroy lands used for farming purposes.
6. No significant population movements were noted during the reporting period. As of 25 January, the camp population in Batagram is as follows: 15,915 (Meira), 2,995 (Batagram I/Maidan) 3,000 (Batera), 507 (Kund) 360 (Khatai) and 280 (Pak-China/Banian).
WATER AND SANITATION
1. In Muzaffarabad, the water supply operation in camps has improved following the return of tanker drivers after the Eid holidays and the addition of tanker vehicles. The sanitation work in camps has been intensified to complete the planned latrines and to replace the filled-up ones as well.
2. A watsan and hygiene survey of the spontaneous camps in Bagh has been conducted by UNICEF and WHO, and the findings in spontaneous camps indicate that, whilst latrines appear to be reasonable, water consumption is below SPHERE standards for most people and efforts to promote hand washing need to be intensified. The survey showed that household water consumptions (quantity) and hygiene practices are the issues of greatest concern at this time.
3. In Mansehra, 15 prospective master trainers attended a two-day Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST) workshop from 20-21 January. The following items were distributed to local partners: bars of soap (31,600), water jerry cans (4,000), tarpaulin rolls (50), aqua tablets (10,000) and 42 packs of PUR sachets.
4. 58,696 IDPs are being provided with clean drinking water out of a total population of 74,489 in camps in Mansehra. UNICEF's contribution to the coverage is 49,912 (85%) through its partners.
5. Camps are getting 55% latrine coverage by the WES cluster.
6. In Mansehra area, 113,571 individuals are receiving water (of which UNICEF covers 49%).
7. The number of affected people with access to safe drinking water amounts to 52% coverage (418,990 against the 'Winter Plan' figure of 810,000), and the total number of people having access to sanitary facilities amounts to 78% coverage (214,060 against the 'Winter Plan' target of 275,000).
FOOD AND NUTRITION
1. WFP reports that food has been distributed to 995,000 out of its 995,000 - 1 million caseload assigned by the GoP. This figure does not include the 110,000 children in tented schools receiving a supplementary ration of high-energy biscuits (HEB) and dates, nor does it include the 4,000 people in tented hospitals receiving full rations. The deliveries from the hubs to extended delivery points from 17-24 January amount to 3,405.21 MT, out of which 1,034 MT were delivered by air.
2. In Mansehra, WFP has agreed to conduct a stopgap distribution to an additional 16,239 people, totalling its distribution to 84,879 people. Out of these 16,239 people, 5,225 live in camps of less than 50 tents, and others in plus '50 tent' camps. In February, WFP plans to return to its normal distribution quota of 69,000 people.
3. Distributions in camps in Mansehra and Abbotabad were completed by 25 January and have also been finalized in camps in Balakot.
1. The main sicknesses for medical consultations are acute respiratory infections (ARI - 70%), acute watery diarrhoea (AWD - 7%), fever (6%) and injuries (5%). The polio campaign was initiated on 23 January in all the earthquake-affected areas, with WHO and UNICEF supporting the Ministry of Health (MoH) through vaccines, social mobilization and human resources.
2. WHO initiated a tent-to-tent survey in Maidan camp in Battagram for data on health and indoor pollution. This tent-to-tent approach may be a way of identifying female patients who are reluctant to visit the health centres because of cultural and traditional norms. As previously reported, MoH continues its urgent search for additional female staff since the lack of female health workers remains a major concern.
3. In Battagram, the Malaysian Military Field Hospital finally departed, leaving behind materials and equipment worth US$ 100,000 for the Battagram District. WHO mental health teams have been deployed throughout the Battagram district to support the work of already active mental health teams. Female health workers have received training in camp surveys and have since carried out a complete camp survey in Maidan Camp.
1. Of the 400,000 primary school level children in the affected areas, 48,115 children have been enrolled in 453 schools with support from agencies.
2. To date, 1,700 tents locally procured by UNICEF have been delivered to the field. The target is to have all tents in place by March 2006. The tents were procured locally, so that they could be delivered as quickly as possible whilst waiting for the 6,500 extra tents ordered from China.
3. The Directorate of Curriculum and Teacher Education (DCTE) in NWFP is working on the final refinement of the manual for the training of trainers which is expected to begin early February.
4. The Education Department in Mansehra has developed a plan for the relief operation and transition to the next phase. The department has raised the issue of lack of female teachers as well as lack of school facilities for girls (2,600 sites are identified to be without schools for girls).
1. Psycho-social support has been provided to 1,700 children through child-friendly spaces in Bagh, and to 954 women and children in Muzaffarabad, 290 women and children in Battagram and 12,100 women and children in Mansehra through child-/women-friendly spaces and community groups.
2. In Mansehra, heating is needed in child-friendly spaces in order to prevent more children from dropping out.
3. Further distribution of winterized kits (including caps, winter boots, girl shawls, jackets, and socks) and blankets is ongoing in high-altitude areas and most-affected areas throughout Bagh District as well as in Rawalkot District through Social Welfare Department.
1. From the start of the air operations, UNHAS has airlifted 10,645 MT of food items, 2,423 MT non-food items and 19,981 passengers. 27 UNHAS helicopters are operational and flying during the good weather.
2. The U.S. military is currently moving 150 metric tons a day in sling-load operations out of Chatterplain and Muzaffarabad. They hope to increase this amount in the coming days.
3. WFP moves approximately 60% of relief supplies by road and 40% by air. Consolidated figures for the operation as a whole are not yet available. However, WFP's percentages are believed to be fairly representative.
4. In Battagram, the Logistics Cluster is looking into the possibilities of establishing additional warehouses and rub halls. Many of the rub halls have turned into overcrowded permanent storage spaces instead of being a transit place for relief items. Relief items are arriving at a faster pace than can be delivered. There is an increasing sense of oversupply, with some beneficiaries beginning to decline the provisions of more NFIs because they have already been sufficiently supplied. However, pockets of urgent needs remain in some parts of the affected area.
WEATHER AND ACCESSIBILTY:
1. There was no reported rain/snow fall in the reporting period and almost all roads remained open. However, some accessibility problems caused by last week's bad weather remain. In Mansehra, a bridge is out at Ghanol north east of Balakot. The Khagan Valley road is inaccessible past this point and will likely remain so for a minimum of three to five weeks. Other forms of cargo transport will have to be envisaged for this area.
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
In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10
Ms. Merete Johansson, direct Tel. +41-22-9171694
Mr. Guido Galli, direct Tel. +41-22-9173171
Mr. Christophe Schmachtel, direct Tel. +41-22-9171751
(GVA) Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, direct Tel.
(N.Y.) Ms. Stephanie Bunker, direct Tel. + 1-917 367 5126
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.