Pakistan: PRCS active in providing relief to Karachi storm-hit people

The Pakistan Red Crescent Sindh provincial branch is actively involved in responding to a large fire in a commercial building in the central city when the storm hit. Six ambulances with attending medical staff assisted local authorities in the fire response, transporting 18 injured people and four bodies to local hospitals. Six ambulances were also dispatched to various locations in the city to assist people affected by the storm and transported 12 injured and two bodies. The provincial branch is focusing now on assisting vulnerable rural communities to prepare for further bad weather. Three teams of 12 (made up of six provincial headquarters staff and 30 local volunteers) are already in place in the district of Thatta. Disaster preparedness stocks of non-food items (such as tents, tarpaulins, kitchen sets) for up to 400 families have been put on standby. A further team of four staff members and 30 volunteers has been mobilized for the district of Badin. In both Badin and Thatta, the Pakistan Red Crescent is capitalising on community based disaster preparedness training done with communities there late last year. The community volunteers are informing local people of how to prepare in the event of bad weather, and will also coordinate evacuations if required. The Baluchistan provincial branch is also preparing for the forecast bad weather. It has alerted its' disaster management cell in the coastal town of Hub Chauki in the south east corner of the province. The Hub Chauki branch disaster management officer and 30 volunteers began on Sunday alerting local fishermen about the bad weather, urging them not to go to sea and remain in their homes. There is no evacuation order from local authorities at this stage. The provincial branch headquarters in Quetta have disaster preparedness stocks for 2000 families ready to be dispatched if required. The district branches of Sibi and Jafarabad further to the north have been put on alert to be ready to provide assistance to coastal areas if required. The Pakistan Red Crescent Sindh Branch Secretary Kanwar Waseem is coordinating with the local authorities in Karachi and to assist in this process the branch has set up a 24-hour control room. The Sindh local government has established a control room headed by the District Coordination Officer. The Baluchistan provincial branch headquarters in Quetta is liaising with the provincial relief commissioner while the Hub Chauki branch is in touch with the local authorities. The Pakistan Red Crescent national headquarters and Pakistan Federation delegation are liaising with the Sindh and Baluchistan branches and monitoring the situation.