Pakistan quake: Church World Service teams expediting initial supplies to survivors

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NEW YORK/QUETTA, PAKISTAN -- The Pakistan staff of international humanitarian agency Church World Service is on the ground and assisting survivors of the powerful 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck the southwestern province of Balochistan earlier today.

With offices in Quetta, about 37 miles from the area where the quake hit, Church World Service has significant operational presence in the region and has been able to mount immediate response. Six CWS team members and six staff from one of the agency's local implementing partners are on the ground conducting initial needs assessments in the hard-hit mountainous region.

From Islamabad, Church World Service communications officer Shama Mall said CWS had relief supplies pre-positioned in its Karachi warehouse and that initial aid items are now en route for immediate relief.

"We've dispatched 1,000 winterized tents, 4,000 blankets, 4,000 hygiene kits, and we will initially be able to provide food package for 100 families," Mall said.

Agencies in the region have so far reported 350 dead, thousands homeless, and more than 1800 injured. "The reports are changing by the hour," she said.

Areas hit by the earthquake are Pishin, Ziarat, Qila Abdullah, Chaman, Loralai, Sibbi and Mastung, with numerous collapsed houses and buildings. Most severely damaged is Ziarat, which has a population of about 50,000 persons. Eight villages in the hilly Ziarat district have been badly affected and there are still many areas that have not yet been reached by emergency personnel.

Church World Service offices across Pakistan implemented a major response to the 7.6 magnitude October 2005 earthquake in northwest Pakistan and Kashmir that killed 74,000 people and displaced 3.5 million.

HOW TO HELP: Those wishing to assist survivors of the October 29 Pakistan earthquake may make contributions to Church World Service online, by phone to 800-297-1516, or by mail to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515.

Media Contact:

Lesley Crosson,
CWS/New York,

Jan Dragin,