Pakistan

Pakistan: Rains and Snowfall OCHA Situation Report No. 1

Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2005/31
OCHA Situation Report No. 1
Pakistan - Rains / Snowfall
11 February 2005

This situation report is based on information received from the office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Pakistan.

Situation

1. Heavy snowfall and rains over the past two weeks has caused substantive damages in Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), Balochistan and parts of Punjab Province.

2. In Pasni Tehsil (Balochistan), a dam burst after more than two weeks of heavy rains. Local authorities state that 26 persons are feared dead, while more than 700 persons are reported missing. Also in Pasni, about 2500 persons are trapped due to high floodwaters. Some 40,000 acres of standing crops is considered completely destroyed. The floods have also washed away 40 kilometers of the Mekran Coastal Highway after which the highway was closed for traffic. Road networks linking the affected areas to the rest of the country have been badly damaged and traffic has been suspended.

3. The Government estimates that as many as 47 persons have been killed in Hazara, Malakand and Mardan districts of North West Frontier Province. Hazard winter conditions have paralysed daily life in most parts of Abbottabad and Mansehra districts, with the local population cut off as both road networks and communications systems are blocked. Electricity cuts have also been reported.

4. In the Broghal and Yarkhoon valleys of Chitral District (Northern Areas), some 4000 vulnerable persons are completely cut off and isolated as a result of continuous snowfall since December 2004. While in Punjab, a number of houses have collapsed and nearly 120 persons reported injured.

National Response

5. Rescue teams from the Pakistan Army and Navy have started search and rescue operations in Pasni. The Government Authorities in Balochistan has established an emergency cell in the Chief Minister Secretariat to closely monitoring the situation. Due to the disruption of communications in the affected areas and the continuing rains, limited information has been received and efforts are being made to obtain full information of the losses.

6. FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance, an INGO working in the northern areas has been instrumental in attracting support from the Federal Government and requested additional support for airlifting of relief supplies already stocked in Chitral. However, according to Government sources, food supplies already distributed in the area should suffice for a period of 4-6 weeks and some arrangement would need to be made to resume operation as the affected areas would still be out of reach by land routes until April, 2005.

International Response

7. The Government of Pakistan has not requested international assistance at this stage. The Office of the UN Resident Coordinator is monitoring the situation and is in close contact with the authorities concerned at the Federal, Provincial and District levels. The situation is considered within the control of the local authorities; however, the situation could change if the snowfall and heavy rains continue.

8. OCHA is in close contact with the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Pakistan and will revert with further information as required.

9. This situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at http://www.reliefweb.int

Telephone: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23
E-mail: ochagva@un.org

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

Desk Officers:
Ms. Afia Ali-Blasco / Mr. Jamie McGoldrick
Direct Tel. +41-22-917-1173/917-1712

Press contact:
(GVA) Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, direct Tel. + 41-22-917 2653
(N.Y.) Ms. Stephanie Bunker, direct Tel. +1-917-8921679

Disclaimer

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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