Pakistan

Pakistan: ICRC response to Baluchistan quake - 08 Nov 2008

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Latest report on ICRC activities in the field

General situation:

- Aftershocks from the 29 October earthquake can be felt daily in the earthquake zone (EQZ).

- Some of the worst affected areas lie within a 20-kilometre radius of Kawas village in the district of Ziarat. Kawas and the villages of Wam and Kahan are among the most badly damaged, many houses having been completely destroyed.

- There are also a large number of partially damaged houses throughout the EQZ.

- For the most part, people in partially damaged houses have been able to save their possessions.

- Families whose homes have been flattened, as well as those whose houses have only been damaged, are sleeping in the open at night, despite the plummeting temperatures. They do not feel safe enough to stay indoors.

- Winter is imminent. It is a race against time to get tents, blankets, stoves and other shelter material distributed before it snows.

- An estimated 32,000 persons (4,500 families) need immediate help.

Security:

In the EQZ, tensions are rising because while aid is reaching some villages, needs go unmet elsewhere. However, all affected areas remain accessible, and assessments and the distribution of aid to the affected continue.

ICRC/Pakistani Red Crescent response:

- Assessments and distributions by the ICRC and the Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) got under way immediately. An ICRC surgical team and other delegates have assessed the medical needs at local health structures in the EQZ and at the hospitals in Quetta. The injured were quickly brought out from affected villages by the army, the government and local people. The medical situation has remained under control. However, both the hospitals and the health structures in the EQZ need material support. The ICRC delivered first-aid kits, blankets and medical supplies to hospitals and health structures at the start of the crisis, and is planning longer-term material support. The PRCS also sent two mobile medical units to the EQZ immediately after the earthquake.

- On 31 October, the ICRC issued a preliminary appeal in Geneva for nine million Swiss francs.

- The ICRC deployed a six-person rapid deployment team to Quetta on 1 November to provide material and logistical support to the PRCS. The team will also assist in identifying longer-term needs, and will facilitate the transition from providing emergency response to helping with the long-term recovery of affected families.

- On 5 November the first distribution of ICRC assistance took place: 594 blankets and 93 tents were provided to 84 households in Zhdoon village in Pishin district. A second distribution began on 6 November in villages in the Manna area, close to the quake's epicentre. A total of 490 tents, 1,500 blankets and 324 floor mats were distributed to 490 households. This is part of a two-day distribution planned for the Manna area. The ICRC's assistance complements the distributions carried out by the PRCS, which continue.

One father of two children, who received a tent and blankets during the Manna distribution, described what it was like to be sleeping out of doors at present:

In the early morning, there is frost everywhere. Warm water is needed, so we keep a fire going. In normal times, we travel away from this area in the winter and go lower down, but with our houses damaged, we are not sure if it will be possible to leave here.

Pakistani Red Crescent:

- The response to the needs of affected people is being led by the PRCS. In Ziarat district, it has established an operations office, with a warehouse, to facilitate its relief operation. To date the PRCS has assessed dozens of villages and distributed the following emergency relief items in Ziarat, Pishin and Harnai districts:

1,878 tents

9,111 blankets

1,080 stoves

1,780 kitchen sets

1,880 tarpaulins

1,365 hygiene kits

3,879 jerrycans

Movement partners:

- The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is an integral part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement's response to the earthquake: it provides ongoing disaster management support to the PRCS. The ICRC is coordinating its response with the International Federation and other partners within the Movement.

- The Turkish Red Crescent is based in Ziarat and is distributing winterized tents and other shelter materials. It will construct prefabricated structures for homeless families in Wam and is providing psychosocial support to victims of the quake.

- The Iranian Red Crescent Society has deployed two mobile health teams from the hospital it runs in Quetta and is providing tents and food.

- The Saudi Red Crescent Society is also providing substantial amounts of relief.

The ICRC currently has 10 delegates (including the members of the rapid deployment team) and 20 national staff; they are based in Quetta.

For more information, please contact:

Jessica Barry, ICRC Quetta, tel +923018110228

Marco Succi, ICRC Islamabad, tel +92 300 850 81 38

Anna Schaaf, ICRC Geneva, tel, +41 79 217 3217