Pakistan Red Crescent Society delivers medical care and relief for survivors of the Balochistan earthquake

By Majda Shabbir, IFRC

Since the 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck Pakistan’s Balochistan Province on 24 September, the Pakistan Red Crescent Society has been able to reach almost 3,500 survivors near the epicentre of the earthquake with emergency health care and relief assistance.

A Red Crescent medical team based in Awaran district hospital has treated more than 1,300 patients, while two mobile health units have been running clinics in the surrounding villages of Labach, Pirandar, Shagazai and Qasimijoe. Each medical team includes four doctors and eight paramedics. As well as treating injuries caused by the earthquake, the teams found that common medical complaints included diarrhoea, malnutrition in children, and complications amongst pregnant women.

On 1 October the Red Crescent was able to distribute relief supplies to 2,100 people in the village of Labach. These supplies included items for emergency shelter (tarpaulins, tents and shelter tool kits) essential non-food items such as family and hygiene kits, cooking stoves, blankets, kitchen sets, mosquito nets and plastic jerry cans. The Red Crescent will also be providing families with food packs within the next few days.

“The Pakistan Red Crescent has decided to increase its initial target of 1,000 families to 2,000 families (14,000 people) due to the enormity of needs among affected communities,” said Michael Higginson, the IFRC’s acting head of delegation in Pakistan. “The aim is to complete distributions to the first 1,000 families within the next few days, bearing in mind some of the challenges. The affected area is very remote and access is difficult due to damaged roads. There are also security concerns.”

The first 1,000 families come from the villages of Labach and Teertej in Awaran, the worst-affected district. These communities were identified following initial rapid assessments conducted by the Red Crescent in coordination with authorities.

The relief operation is supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) through its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund with funds totalling 154,425 Swiss francs (126,000 Euros), as well as support from other in-country Movement partners.

Movement partners are unable to directly assist humanitarian operations in the affected area due to security concerns. However, they are monitoring the situation closely through the National Society which has a well-established network on the ground.