Pakistan

Pakistan: Initial report on the early impact of Asia quake appeal fund

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DEC Member agencies already helping thousands of Asia quake survivors
Aid from the UK's leading relief agencies is getting through to tens of thousands of people affected by the Asia earthquake.

The agencies, who are co-ordinating their efforts to raise funds and save lives under the Disasters Emergency Committee coalition, report that the operation is expanding quickly.

A second aid flight was leaving the UK this evening loaded with 40 tons of water purification equipment. This follows an earlier flight that landed yesterday bringing 19,000 blankets.

And earlier today winter tents and other shelter equipment were dropped by helicopter to villages inaccessible by road.

On the ground, medical camps are being set up, emergency food rations have already been distributed - and more are being delivered, along with thousands of blankets.

"Our challenge is to get emergency supplies - food, shelter, water and medical kit - to as many people as possible and as quickly as possible," said DEC CEO Brendan Gormley.

"The relief operation started immediately the quake hit the Kashmiri region. The DEC swung into action to set up the appeal that agencies had the confidence to able to react quickly, with aid funded by the British public.

"The agencies know that money is coming through quickly from the DEC Asia Quake Appeal, which means they can buy and distribute emergency supplies straight away."

But Mr Gormley warned that the situation was extremely difficult.

"Roads and mountain tracks to isolated villages and settlements have either been blocked or destroyed. Bridges are down, there have been mudslides and heavy rain. This makes movement very difficult for lorries carrying heavy loads."

Quake survivors are now very vulnerable from shock, hunger, cold, polluted water and disease. It is vital that relief reaches them soon.

The DEC represents 13 UK aid agencies who are all working in the region.