OCHA Situation Report No. 42
South Asia - Earthquake
The Pakistan Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) and the United Nations have reached agreement on the Early Recovery Action Plan. The Action Plan aims to support the Government of Pakistan in bridging the transition period from relief to recovery over a 12-month period. In a joint press briefing on 22 April, UN Resident Coordinator, Jan Vandemoortele, and Deputy Chairman of ERRA, General Nadeem Ahmad, will present the Action Plan. Major challenges foreseen in the implementation of the Action Plan are: the availability of land, road repair, shelter, drinking water, food, rubble removal, restoring livelihoods, support to the needs of vulnerables, governance, and the provision of basic services such as education and health at places of origin.
The priorities of humanitarian operations are: (i) informed, dignified and voluntary IDP returns; (ii) proper camp closure; (iii) the provision of essential services in places of origin; and (iv) transition planning to build the recovery foundation.
- The overall security situation in the field-based Hubs remains calm and stable.
IDP Returns Process
- IDP returns continue steadily in all Hubs. 44 camps have been closed so far. UNHCR's technical mobile teams continue monitoring the situation and ensure that all Agencies dismantle structures and clear the sites in an environmentally sound manner.
- Since 10 March 2006, a total of more than 80,000 people have left the relief camps, which is over half of the population living in camps with more than 50 tents. The number of returns has decreased over the past week due to obstacles such as blocked roads, landslides and snow in areas of return.
- In Batagram, 97% of the IDPs have left relief camps. In Mansehra, with 36,000 IDPs having returned, the remaining camp population stands at about 7,000 people. In Muzaffarabad, more than 20,000 IDPs have left, which is about 25% of the initial camp population. In Bagh, some 1,700 persons still live in camps. On 17 April, a UN/Government press briefing took place in Bagh for local media to widen the mass information campaign for returns. People also continue leaving relief camps in the Islamabad area. In the case of the Capital Development Authority relief camp in H-11, out of 10,784 people, 7,969 have left.
- Hub-based return activities focus on two main issues: the number and specific needs of residual caseloads and the identification and preparation of forward camps. In Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PAK), it is estimated that the residual caseload will be over 100 families in Bagh and some 15,000 people in Muzaffarabad. In North West Frontier Province (NWFP) the proposal is to use Meira camp as a forward camp for residual populations. Army camp management and humanitarian agencies warned that due to the intense heat and lack of services, Meira is not considered a suitable location. In Mansehra, procedures for the relocation of vulnerable families are still under discussion. In Muzaffarabad, the Camp Management Organization expects some 10,000 urban IDPs returning to the city, all requiring special housing arrangements.
Transition Planning and Recovery
- The Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Agency (ERRA) and the United Nations finally agreed on the ERRA/UN Early Recovery Plan. The Action Plan covers a 12-month period and contains recovery-specific activities. The implementation of the projects is based on a set of principles that include practice of the Paris Declaration of aid effectiveness, light footprint, capacity building, smart targeting, and balance between the two affected provinces, NWFP and PAK. A joint ERRA/UN press briefing on the Action Plan is going to take place in Islamabad on 22 April.
- ERRA has established a new website at www.erra.gov.pk. It contains information on mission statement, functional charts, contacts, reconstruction sectors, partner organizations, donors, guidelines, and maps.
- In Bagh, the Programme Manager of the ERRA District Reconstruction Unit (DRU) has arrived. The DRU is the implementing arm of the District Reconstruction Advisory Committee (DRAC), which is a policy-making body.
- On behalf of the Early Recovery and Reconstruction Cluster, UNDP has prepared a document called "Snapshot of Early Recovery Initiatives in Pakistan" outlining planning priorities, coordination mechanisms and achievements.
- In Mansehra, the Clusters for Education, Health as well as for Water and Sanitation have transitioned and the meetings are now chaired by civil authorities. The Livelihood Cluster is likely to change and emerge as Working Group on Livelihoods, chaired by FAO. A final Cluster Review for the Batagram Hub was completed on 21 April. In Bagh, the District Coordination meeting is chaired by the District Commissioner and attended by Heads of Clusters and heads of government line departments. In Muzaffarabad, the transitioning of Cluster responsibilities from UN agencies to local authorities is ongoing. In Camp Management, for example, Camp Management Organisation has taken over as the Chair with UNHCR providing secretarial support. The Education Cluster is chaired by the Secretary of Education and continues in the form of a Working Group.
UN Base Camp Closure
- The WFP-administered UN Base Camp in Batagram will be dismantled by mid-May. UNICEF is planning to take over the space and convert it into a UNICEF compound. The OCHA Batagram Office is expected to close on 27 April.
WATER AND SANITATION
1. In Muzaffarabad, 185 latrines were installed in rural areas providing sanitation facilities to 1,110 people. Also, 17,160 pieces of washing soap, 450 jerry canes, and nerox filters for 330 families were distributed in rural areas to ensure safe drinking water for 3,300 people. 4,800 hygiene kits were distributed in camps and to returning IDPs.
2. In Mansehra, water supply schemes for Oghi town, Kashtra and Wawai villages were completed benefiting 10,000 people.
3. In Batagram, 2,025 people from 6 Union Councils received training on solid waste management at the household level. In addition, 7,952 persons from 14 Union Councils received training on proper hand washing and latrine use.
4. UNHCR and IOM signed an agreement on assisted IDP returns. UNHCR agreed to fund a significant portion of IOM returns assistance activities for medical screening and transportation. The funding will allow IOM to continue providing medical screening in camps prior to the departure of the IDPs to ensure that passengers are fit for travel. Special arrangements are made for vulnerable individuals. A movement plan incorporating population data, road reconnaissance and community-based information facilitates the transport to areas of origin.
5. As part of her Pakistan mission, UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner Wendy Chamberlin visited Muzaffarabad this week where she met with quake survivors, Government officials and aid workers to discuss ongoing challenges, in particular with regard to returns.
6. IOM has started a rubble removal and recycling programme in Muzaffarabad to help local authorities to remove some 16 million cubic feet of earthquake debris. Six months after the October 2005 earthquake, Muzaffarabad town remains full of rubble and damaged buildings.
7. ERRA announced that it would like the Islamabad Health Cluster to continue in the form of regular meetings chaired by Col. Usman Gilani and Dr. Shabana of ERRA. This is in recognition of the Health Cluster's valuable work carried out during the relief phase.
8. Out of the planned 35 prefabricated Basic Health Units that WHO is constructing in the earthquake-affected areas, 31 have now been completed. UNFPA has five prefabricated Health Units functioning in Mansehra and Muzaffarabad districts. Adequate staffing continues to remain a problem.
9. Medical screening of the returning IDPs is ongoing. Children are vaccinated against major diseases. In Balakot, the Ministry of Health Immunization teams screened more than 700 children and vaccinated over 200.
10. Outbreak investigation was conducted into several suspected cases of acute viral hepatitis in Mori, Brarkot village, Ghari Habibullah and in Dhamkatcha village in Balakot, after two cases of acute jaundice syndrome were reported from the field hospital in Ghari Habibullah and from the clinic in Kashtara camp. The Ministry of Health and WHO sent a team for further investigation and active case finding.
11. The Ministry of Health, WHO and UNICEF are planning to implement a community-based rehabilitation system in support of the disabled population. The NGOs Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Handicap International have established a number of physiotherapy units and orthopedic workshops in the earthquake-affected areas. ICRC is providing prosthetics for amputees. WHO has set up a 100-bed prefabricated spinal injury unit in Chak Shezad, Islamabad.
12. The Jordanian field hospital in Rawalakot closed down after having eased the health impact of the earthquake over a six-month period.
13. As part of a "Welcome to School" campaign UNICEF is distributing education supplies in rural areas, including school-in-box cases, tents, floor mats, blackboards, fire extinguishers and supplementary reading materials.
14. In support of IDP returns, UNICEF is issuing departing students with school certificates, which testify to their attendance in camp schools. Detailed records of each student have been collected to allow for proper follow-up action in villages of origin.
15. In Muzaffarabad, annual examinations are soon to be conducted in all camp schools in partnership with the Department of Education and implementing NGOs.
16. The Protection Cluster continues to monitor IDP returns and prepares weekly return updates for each Hub. Priority issues include sustainable livelihoods in places of return, identification and preparation of forward camps for residual caseloads, dates of camp closure, humanitarian needs, information campaigns addressing compensation policies and payments, and road access to areas of return.
17. Humanitarian air capacity has decreased once again with the redeployment of one UNHAS Mi-8 helicopter. Further reductions to the fleet will come into effect as of 23 April 2006. Yet another reduction will take place when DFID-funded helicopters stop flying on 3 May. After this date, UNHAS will have only four Mi-8 helicopters to serve the humanitarian operation until the end of May.
18. This is likely to seriously restrict Agencies' and NGOs' ability to undertake projects in areas inaccessible by road. At the same time, the amount of road transport available at no direct cost to the humanitarian community is also going to reduce significantly. Due to a shortfall in funding, IOM is no longer providing free cargo trucking to the relief community since 14 April 2006.
19. UNOPS ceased operations since 20 April due to lack of funding. This will severely impact on road assessments in hard-to-access areas as well as on road clearance work after landslides and avalanches, on the transport of construction materials and labour teams to inaccessible areas, and on assistance with IDP returns when they take place along dangerous routes. It will also affect post-return monitoring in inaccessible areas, despite a request by UNICEF for UNOPS assistance in this process.
20. UNHAS, ICRC, Merlin and MSF have encountered difficulties obtaining flight authorization for areas near the Line of Control. This is having a severe impact on humanitarian operations, including hampering access to Agency and NGO medical facilities, which are situated within this perimeter. These areas are generally inaccessible to vehicle transportation.
21. WFP warehouses in Muzaffarabad are currently full and UN Agencies and NGOs are all looking for extra storage capacities. It is expected that this will cause problems for storing contingency and recovery materials. External storage capacity is urgently needed.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND DATA COMMUNICATIONS
22. The Inter-Agency radio-room in Bana has been closed and the radio operators relocated to other sites. In Islamabad, a total of 69 staff from various UN Agencies have received recommended training on radio use and procedures. A training program for radio trainers is under development. In view of UN Base Camp closures, preparations are under way in Bagh, Muzzafarabad and Batagram to move radio-rooms to alternative locations.
23. In Batgram, Mansehra, Muzaffarabad, and Bagh, UNICEF plans to move the shared VSAT (satellite dish) services to new sites. A request was drafted and will be sent to all UN Agencies to specify their bandwidth requirements in order to facilitate cost sharing.
WEATHER AND ACCESSIBILTY
24. Heavy rains have caused a rapid deterioration in road conditions and many routes continue to remain unstable. In Muzaffarabad, the Jhelum valley road is closed after Hattian. The Neelum valley road is a no-go area. The Lipa valley road is closed after Lamnian. A convoy of 39 IOM returns vehicles got stranded in Lipa valley for a week due to landslides. Landslides have rendered the original Bheri road very dangerous.
25. UNJLC field staff are continuing road assessments to assist in mapping and IDP returns. UNJLC's Muzaffarabad field representatives have been equipped with mountain bikes to assist in the process since many of the routes in the area remain inaccessible to vehicles. The use of mountain bikes enables UNJLC personnel to cover considerably greater distances than on foot.
26. All detailed cluster information (meeting minutes, assessments, contact information etc.) is being posted on www.un.org.pk .
27. 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).
28. Contact details of focal points for information on in-kind and cash contributions can be found at http://www.un.org.pk/earthquake05/ .
29. 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.
30. Regular news on Pakistan is available from IRIN via the website www.IRINnews.org and direct e-mail subscription. Agencies wishing to contribute news article suggestions, press releases and reports with IRIN should send them to the IRIN Asia office: IRINasia@IRINnews.org, Tel +90-312 454 1177.
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In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10
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Mr. Guido Galli, direct Tel. +41-22-917-3171
(GVA) Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, direct Tel.
(N.Y.) Ms. Stephanie Bunker, direct Tel. +1-917-367-5126
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