Pakistan

Pakistan: IOM rapid response teams wrap up life saving winter operations

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IOM Rapid Response Teams (RRTs), which started disaster management operations in earthquake-affected areas of Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PAK) and NWFP with the onset of winter 2006-2007, will wrap up their work at the end of May.

The teams, funded by the American International Group Disaster Relief Fund (AIG DRF) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), saved a number of lives in emergencies, trained thousands of villagers and volunteers in disaster preparedness, provided risk assessments for 1,200 remote, high altitude villages, and distributed relief items to vulnerable families.

The eleven 11 RRTs, comprising emergency medics, mountain search and rescue guides and assessment experts, were based in the Allai, Battal, Sirin, Kaghan, Kohistan valleys and Battagram areas of NWFP, and the Neelum and Jhelum valleys, Muzaffarabad, Haveli and Bagh of PAK.

"The teams worked with district and sub-district institutions to ensure disaster risk reduction and respond to affected communities. They were the eyes, ears and muscles for the humanitarian community and coordinated their emergency response with government authorities and the relief community," says IOM RRT programme manager John Sampson.

The RRTs also provided assistance to the urban winterization programme in the Bagh and Muzaffarabad districts of PAK, providing tents, blankets, plastic sheets, warm clothing and hygiene kits to over 5,000 families. They also helped construct some 450 wood and tin sheet shelters in IDP camps during the winterization process.

The eleven RRT base camps established by the teams will be handed over to local authorities for future disaster management operations.

For more information, please contact Saleem Rehmat at IOM Pakistan. Tel +92 300 856 5967, Email: srehmat@iom.int

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