Pakistan: ICRC/PRCS response to the Baluchistan earthquake - 21 Nov 2008

Latest report on ICRC activities in the field

General situation

- Aftershocks from the 29 October earthquake are continuing, and people are still sleeping outdoors in the affected area, despite freezing temperatures.

- Many local and international aid agencies are fully operational, as is the Pakistani government's National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), distributing tents and other shelter materials, household items, clothes and food in the affected villages, and providing medical services.

- With sharp frosts occurring at night, people living in the mountains are preparing to start their annual migration to lowland areas around Harnai, where they will spend the winter.


All earthquake-affected areas remain accessible. Although some demonstrations have taken place in Ziarat district, organized by people demanding more aid, the security situation overall remains stable.

ICRC/PRCS response

The first delivery of ten ICRC shelter kits took place on 10 November, to three villages in Pishin district, together with tents, mats, blankets and tarpaulins for 200 families. The procurement of at least 1,000 kits through local suppliers is already under way. Each shelter kit contains 30 square metres of corrugated and galvanized iron sheeting, nails, a hammer and a saw. With this material, a shelter can be built for 10 people.

A second distribution of shelter kits took place on the 13 November, in Ziarat district, following which a decision was taken to provide shelter kits to 2,000 families whose homes have been severely damaged.

A third distribution of 25 kits took place on 18 November. The kits distributed so far have provided 20 shelters, accommodating approximately 200 people.

The shelter kits will be delivered together with kitchen sets, soap and hygiene items, blankets, jerrycans and tarpaulins. A further 3,000 families whose houses are less severely damaged will receive blankets and tarpaulins.

In addition to the items mentioned above, ICRC/PRCS (Pakistan Red Crescent) assistance teams provided almost 43,000 people in over 50 villages in Ziarat, Pishin and Harnai districts with the following items during the first 20 days of November:

- 1,177 winterized tents

- 5,776 tents (3,819 ordinary and 1,957 winterized)

- 17,802 blankets

- 1,375 stoves

- 4,066 tarpaulins

- 1,996 hygiene kits

- 1,290 kitchen sets

- 3,227 jerrycans

- 622 quilts

- 784 mats

- 245 patus (the wool shawl worn locally)

- 20 shelter kits

- 798 food packs

The ICRC is also financially supporting a PRCS mobile medical unit (see below), and is planning to provide longer term support to the health clinic in Harnai. The distribution of medicines and medical supplies to hospitals and clinics in Ziarat is under way.

Pakistan Red Crescent Society

The Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement's earthquake response is being led by the PRCS. It has established an operations office in Ziarat district with a warehouse to facilitate its relief operation. The majority of the distributions mentioned above have been conducted by the PRCS with support from the ICRC. Where direct ICRC distributions have taken place, PRCS volunteers have been integrated into the assistance teams.

The PRCS has also been providing mobile medical services in the earthquake-affected villages. There were originally two mobile units, but as more agencies with medical expertise became operational, this was reduced to one. It is manned by a five-member team made up of two doctors, one nurse, one pharmacist and a hygiene promoter, from hospitals in Quetta. The medics work on a ten-day rotation.

Between 29 October and 19 November, the mobile medical teams held 3,209 consultations in the affected villages. By far the greatest number of patients were women and children. The major health problems remain respiratory tract infections, anxiety, depression and diarrhoea. On average, there have been well over 100 consultations a day. Women and children in the earthquake zone complain that they are not able to sleep, and say that they are still afraid.

"When the wind is breathing, the children say the earthquake is coming," remarked one mother.

Other Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement partners:

The International Federation is an integral part of the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement's response to the earthquake, through its ongoing disaster management support to the PRCS. The International Federation now has a representative based in Quetta, together with a shelter team. The ICRC is coordinating its response with the International Federation and other Movement partners.

The Turkish Red Crescent Society (TRCS) is operating out of Ziarat and is distributing winterized tents and other shelter materials. It has provided the PRCS with food items and hygiene kits. The TRCS will also be constructing prefabricated structures to house 120 homeless families in Wam and is providing psychosocial support to earthquake victims. Up to 20 November, Turkish Red Crescent workers had distributed:

- 1,500 food packages containing rice, flour, beans, milk, sugar, cooking oil, salt and tea, in 11 villages in Ziarat district;

- 700 hygiene parcels containing soap, towels, baby products and toiletries in eight villages;

- ICRC water engineers stand ready to assist with the provision of water and sewage facilities to the container homes that the TRCS is constructing in Wam

Immediately after the earthquake struck, the Iranian Red Crescent Society deployed two mobile health teams from the hospital it runs in Quetta. It has also sent 1,000 tents, 5,000 blankets, 352 cartons of medicine, food and soap for distribution via the PRCS.

The Saudi Arabian Red Crescent Society is also providing substantial relief to the earthquake victims.

The ICRC currently has eight delegates and 36 national staff based in Quetta.

For more information, please contact:

Jessica Barry, ICRC Quetta, tel +923018110228

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

Carla Haddad Mardini, ICRC Geneva, tel, +41 79 217 3226