Pakistan: UN quake appeal only 40 per cent funded, 2.4 million blankets needed

More than nine weeks after a devastating earthquake in Pakistan killed more than 70,000 people, injured 70,000 more and left up to 3 million people homeless, the United Nations relief appeal faces a shortfall of some 60 per cent, with a new survey showing an urgent need for 2.4 million blankets as the harsh winter sets in.
Funds for the $550 million appeal have reached $209.2 million, or 38 per cent, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) spokesperson Elizabeth Byrs told a news briefing in Geneva today. With $22.7 million in pledges included, the funding stands at 42 per cent.

A recent rapid assessment conducted by the UN and non-government organizations (NGOs) among 3,000 affected households below the 5,000-feet snowline concluded that 75 per cent are in need of additional support in terms of structural and/or thermal protection, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told the briefing.

"More blankets, quilts, plastic sheets and tarpaulins are urgently required to help quake survivors stay warm in the winter," she said. "With more than 20 mobile teams active, we are working hard to meet these needs."

As part of its winterization campaign, UNHCR has so far distributed 322,904 blankets, 60,875 plastic sheets, 3,751 stoves and 1,209 sleeping bags. An additional 250,025 blankets, 77,281 plastic sheets and 28,993 stoves are on their way.