Pakistan

Pakistan, India - Earthquake: OCHA Situation Report No. 13

Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2005/0174
OCHA Situation Report No. 13
South Asia (Pakistan and India) - Earthquake

This report is based on the information provided by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator/Resident Coordinator's (UN HC/RC) Office in Islamabad, national authorities, agencies, NGOs and donors in Pakistan.

Pakistan

SITUATION OVERVIEW

1. The situation for millions of people in Pakistan affected by the South Asia earthquake has become dire. While aid is beginning to arrive, there are millions of people, homeless, in need of all forms of assistance - the most urgent being shelter, heating equipment, water and sanitation, food and medical help.

2. The logistical challenges of the terrain are believed to be unprecedented in any humanitarian operation, winter has arrived, with people living in sub-zero temperatures without shelter.

3. A deep sense of challenge and desperation is being felt in the field because the logistical challenges of this operation may be insurmountable.

4. Tens of thousands of people still cannot be reached in areas where roads have been cut off and helicopters cannot land. The international community, in support of the efforts of the Government of Pakistan, must do everything possible to facilitate the delivery of aid and medical care on a most urgent basis.

5. The death toll remains at 40,000 with at least 65,000 injured, although the actual figures is probably much higher. These figures will increase. The number of homeless is estimated to be between 2.8 and 3.2 million.

6. UNICEF estimates 32,000 children dead, 42,000 children injured, and 160,000 to 250,000 children left without assistance.

7. The emergency phase of this operation is expected to continue for at least the next six months. Rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts need to begin as soon as possible so that the emergency phase will not continue longer than needed in a terrain that is difficult to reach even under more favourable conditions.

8. In the most affected area, which covers some 28,000 square kilometres, all essential infrastructure such as medical facilities, government buildings and schools have been destroyed.

9. Aftershocks continue sometimes triggering landslides. Some 20 % of the areas worst-hit (such as Neelum and Jhelum and Kaghan valleys) have been cut off from the rest of the country, with badly damaged roads and bridges.

10. People continue to emerge from the hills, sometimes after days of trekking and often carrying the injured. Many affected are dying before help can reach them.

11. In order for a dramatic increase in the death toll to be avoided, tents and blankets must be provided to the sick in the next 48 to 72 hours or people moved to where help can be given to them more readily. Lack of food supplies and safe drinking water is also deteriorating the physical condition of the already vulnerable earthquake victims.

12. A great proportion of arriving tents are not winterised making additional resources of blankets, tarpaulins and ground sheeting necessary to make them suitable for use in a harsh winter climate. Furthermore they cannot easily be erected in most parts of the earthquake zone as the terrain is mountainous.

13. Hospitals in Islamabad are full.

14. The Pakistani Military is carrying out the majority of all humanitarian operations and it is reported that thousands of volunteers from all over the country are supporting relief operations.

15. Currently, the confirmed contributions towards the UN Flash Appeal calling for USD 312 million, stand at USD 14 million. Uncommitted pledges for the Appeal stand at USD 45 million. In addition numerous financial and in-kind contributions have been made outside of the Appeal amounting to USD 233 million.

PRIORITY NEEDS

  • Winterised tents /temporary shelter (est. 250,000-450,000)

  • Assistance of surgery for injured people; measles and other vaccinations; mobile health care teams to move to remoter areas; women and child health;

  • Blankets/Sleeping Bags (est. 2 million)

  • Water and sanitation (especially latrines)

  • Tarpaulins, Ground sheets

  • Stoves, fuel and kitchen sets

  • Helicopters

Coordination

Latest developments /Achievements

16. Five UN humanitarian hubs are being established, i.e. three immediately in Muzaffarabad, Mansehra, Bagh, and another two in Balakot, and Batagram in the coming week. These hubs will include both UN and NGO presence.

17. Field cluster coordination is fully functioning in Islamabad, Muzaffarabad and Mansehra and will be in Bagh as of tomorrow. Government focal points will co-chair all Cluster groups, and the Head of Cluster meeting is being held at the Government Cabinet Secretariat to ensure coordination between national and international relief efforts.

Challenges

18. Coordination mechanisms at the district level still need to be further strengthened.

19. Information sharing between the Pakistani authorities and the United Nations is in the process of being strengthened. There is still insufficient information on the distribution of bilateral aid however. The appointment of a liaison officer from the Government in the UN Coordination Cell in Islamabad is expected to address this concern.

Emergency Shelter Cluster (led by IOM)

Latest developments /Achievements

20. Temporary shelters for about 3 million people are a priority requirement. Despite contributions (32,000 tents already delivered, 150,000 currently in the pipeline), thousands more tents are needed.

21. A more in-depth needs assessment to clearly ascertain the numbers of shelters required is ongoing, with results expected by Wednesday.

Challenges

22. Given delays being experienced in the delivery of tents, additional temporary measures such as provision of tarpaulins and ground sheets also need to be considered, to protect lives while tents are being delivered. Other priority NFIs include blankets, stoves, fuel and kitchen sets.

23. It is also imperative that cross-sectoral coordination takes place in order to ensure that whilst tents are being erected, water and sanitation needs are being met simultaneously.

Water and Sanitation Cluster (led by UNICEF)

Latest developments /Achievements

24. The cluster in Islamabad has some 15 members and meetings are taking place in the affected areas. New partners are joining the cluster daily for joint assessments and project proposals.

25. Distribution of WATSAN supplies has increased dramatically. The ICRC is repairing the water pumping station in Muzaffarabad. It is now functioning at 30% and will soon be back to full capacity.

26. Different cluster partners (UNICEF, IFRC, Canadian DART Team, DFID, WHO, Oxfam, Pakistan Hikers Association, etc.) have delivered the following material: 20,000 jerry cans and 5 tanks (11 cubic meters) for 60,000 people have been delivered to Muzaffarabad, in addition to two mobile treatment plants, 80 latrine slabs and plastic sheeting for latrine construction for 1,600 people. Two more are earmarked for Balakot. Some 5,000 buckets, 4,000 jerry cans and cloth filters (to provide potable water to 24,000 people for two months) have been received, together with 5,000 bars of washing soap and 23,000 bars of toilet soap.

27. IFRC reports 50,000 Agua tabs have been provided to hikers who are setting off to the most remote of the affected areas. Additional teams in Muzaffarabad will be providing 200,000 liters of water daily, enough for 13,000 people.

Challenges

28. The most urgent concern is the need for rapid installation of culturally acceptable latrines and removal of human waste from the environment.

Logistics Cluster (facilitated by WFP)

Latest developments /Achievements

29. Vital helicopter flights carrying food, blankets and tents to northern Pakistan resumed yesterday as rains ended.

30. ICRC teams resumed helicopter flights to the Jhelum valley from Muzaffarabad this. The helicopters work a rotation system taking in essential supplies and bringing out the injured. Six rotations were made to Chikar and Saran. The ICRC hopes to have seven helicopters flying by the end of the week

Challenges

31. The Islamabad airport situation continues to present major challenges. The approved movement of relief supplies from Turkey to Islamabad and the subsequent significant traffic increase will require extensive special coordination of ramp space and cargo handling.

32. An alternative airport use is being assessed by UNJLC.

Health Cluster (led by WHO)

Latest developments /Achievements

33. Air evacuations are sill ongoing. In order to reduce the number of medical evacuations of patients to Islamabad where hospitals are full, efforts are aimed at establishing an effective referral system between the different health providers in Muzaffarabad. Thanks to the efforts of international medical teams from France, Russia and Turkey the capacity in Muzaffarabad to carry out surgery is sufficient. However, the capacity to place patients in post-operation health care is not enough.

34. Electricity has been restored in the Abbas Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS) in Muzaffarabad, which is now carrying out 300 minor and major surgeries every day. At this stage, there is no lack of drugs or medical supplies.

35. All health partners in Muzaffarabad have agreed to use the same forms for rapid assessment disease surveillance, health facility assessments and interagency mission. Guidelines for establishing field hospitals were disseminated among health partners.

36. More than 200 people are being evacuated (airlifted to hospitals) daily. The measles campaign has begun and a communicable disease surveying system is being put in place.

37. Forty teams of 5 health professionals, together with 17 surveillance officers, will be deployed this week to strengthen health sector support in the earthquake affected areas.

Challenges

38. The number of wounded is very high when compared to other earthquakes.

39. The immediate objective is to ensure that large winterised tents are put up as field hospitals in the periphery of those field hospitals functioning as surgical wards to cope with the large number of post-operation patients.

Food and Nutrition Cluster (led by WFP and UNICEF)

Latest developments /Achievements

40. WFP and FAO are dispatching nutrition/agriculture assessment missions to the affected areas.

41. The current priority is still to ensure that sufficient quantities of biscuits are arriving. 200 tons have come from Bangladesh; WFP has received permission to bring biscuits in from India; stocks are also arriving from Turkey. WFP is also borrowing wheat from stocks in Pakistan.

42. An estimated 440,000 persons have received food assistance so far. The WFP feeding programme is currently aimed at providing assistance to some 1 million people. However, estimates indicate that around 2 million people may be in need of assistance.

Camp Management Cluster (led by UNHCR)

Latest developments /Achievements

43. The Government, in cooperation with UNHCR, has set up two site camps, in Balakot and Gari Habibullah in the last 24 hours. A 500 tent camp has also been established in Muzzafarabad. Three further camp sites are being identified, mapped and planned in these two locations and in Batagram, for a total of 1,300 families. HCR staff will assist in identifying caseloads for these camps and monitoring their set up and management.

Challenges

44. Assessments continue to be conducted in remote areas.

Protection of Women and Children Cluster (led by UNICEF)

Latest developments /Achievements

45. The cluster is vigorously encouraging the registration of all children admitted to medical facilities and working with the Ministry of Social Welfare to ensure security and safety of unaccompanied children.

46. The first Child Protection Cluster meeting will be held in Muzaffarabad.

Challenges

47. A number of clusters report concerns regarding distribution: there are testimonies of relief reaching mostly the influential members of communities, with widowed and separated women not able to access relief.

General Information

48. All detailed cluster information (meeting minutes, assessments, contact information etc.) is being posted on www.un.org.pk.

49. 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).

50. Contact details of focal points for information on in-kind and cash contributions can be found at http://www.un.org.pk/earthquake05/

51. 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.

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E-mail: ochagva@un.org

In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

Desk Officers:

Ms. Merete Johansson, direct Tel. +41-22-9171694
Ms. Kirsten Gelsdorf, direct Tel. +41-22 917 1843

Press contact:

(GVA) Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, direct Tel. +41-22-917 2653
(N.Y.) Ms. Stephanie Bunker, direct Tel. + 1-917 367 5126

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