The South Asia Earthquake: Pakistan - Eight weeks on

Humanitarian workers speed-up work for winter months
The first heavy snowfalls in the last week of November marked the beginning of the winter period in the area affected by the 8 October earthquake in Pakistan. The implications have become obvious: more population movements are anticipated, more challenges will be faced for the delivery of assistance and more needs for the affected population will emerge, especially among the most vulnerable groups.

The goal of the relief operation, shared by the Government of Pakistan and all humanitarian actors, remains to save lives and restore livelihoods for the people affected by this disaster. Priorities for December have been identified and key objectives have been included in The Winter Plan -- all formulated within the framework of the National Plan of Action. The key objectives are:

- Ensure the continued provision of assistance and support for an estimated 350,000 - 380,000 people who will choose to remain in their homes in remote locations.

- Support the provision and management of sufficient and appropriate camp accommodation where required, and assistance to populations at lower elevations. The planning figure in planned and self-settled camps for this period is 250,000 people.

- Ensure that the protection and assistance needs of particularly vulnerable populations are met, including women and children, orphans, unaccompanied and separated children, those affected mentally and physically by the earthquake, the newly-widowed, single-parent headed households, and the elderly.

- Continued assessment and monitoring of the changing situation, vulnerabilities, capacities and needs for continued contingency planning and response to emerging needs.


In the eight weeks since the earthquake, much has been achieved by the respective actors:

Emergency Shelter Some 23,499 emergency shelter repair kits have been distributed, with materials and assistance provide provided by the Pakistan Military to build shelters for people remaining above 5000ft.
410,000 tents and 3.1 million blankets have been distributed;
a further 80,000 tents and 1.3 million blankets are in the pipeline.
Camp Management 30 planned camps accommodating over 36,000 people; new sites have been identified.
The planning figure for six months is 250,000 people in camps.
Food and Nutrition 3,406 metric tonnes has been delivered to more than 200,000 beneficiaries in remote areas;
and nearly one million people have been reached through general distribution;
100,000 children aged 6-59 months have received Vitamin A supplements;
200 Metric tonnes seeds and fertilizer has been distributed in Muzaffarabad, Bagh and Rawalkot.
16 field hospitals are operational; 60 new emergency health kits have been distributed,
providing basic drugs/equipment for 300,000/3 months;
a Disease Early Warning System (DEWS) and 6 response teams are in place;
300,000 children have been vaccinated;
ten Mobile Service Units are in operation providing obstetric care & 200,000 hygiene kits distributed to women;
9 mental health teams have been mobilized.
12 of 23 camps in Muzaffarabad now have primary health care.
Water & Sanitation Almost 90% of water needs now covered in planned camps;
1,449 latrines provided (36% coverage);
Muzaffarabad reservoirs have been repaired and 50% of water treatment plants are now working.
Education A total of 369 schools have been opened and 145 school tents have been provided and 2,040 'School in a Box' kits procured and are being distributed.
Protection Over 10,000 children in camps in Muzaffarabad and Mansehra have been registered;
37 children have been reunited with their families;
16 safe play areas are available for 1024 children in Muzaffarabad and Bagh;
Early Recovery An Early Recovery Framework has been prepared as a guide for transitional activities;
the early recovery cluster has supported shelter efforts through distribution of 10,802 winterized tents & 9,636 kitchen sets, benefiting 10,802 families;
technical assistance is being provided on building seismic resilient shelters for affected families about 2,000 ft.
IT/Communication Basic security telecommunications infrastructure and data connectivity established in 4 locations (Muzaffarabad, Mansehra, Balakot and Bagh.)
Logistics A "Joint Operations Centre" has been established to task UNHAS; Pakistan Military; NATO and US Military air assets. 21 UNHAS tasked helicopters have been made available to fly relief cargo and personnel. 40 transit storage tents were established at all hubs, 6 at forward delivery hubs. Free transport from supply origins to hubs and field delivery points has been made available to the humanitarian community by IOM, ATLAS and WFP (272 trucks, 95 light trucks) to complement the Government's own transport assets.

Much, however, remains to be done to consolidate and sustain these gains and, as winter closes in and the situation on the ground enters a new phase, to respond effectively to both remaining and emerging emergency needs.


The Winter Plan has been developed within the thematic Clusters of the international humanitarian community. The Clusters include representatives of the Government as well as a wide range of humanitarian actors, and consultation on the objectives, actions and priorities outlined in the Plan has taken place in both Islamabad and the humanitarian hubs. The planning timeframe for most Clusters is 90 days, except where specific circumstances make a different period more appropriate. The Plan will be reviewed on a monthly basis to 'fine tune' priorities, planning assumptions, and the proposed responses. Full details are available, but here are highlights:

EMERGENCY SHELTER: provide secure shelter in key areas and winterize 100,000 non-winterized tents in settlements in identified areas;

FOOD AND NUTRITION: save lives and prevent malnutrition and micro-nutrient deficiencies;

CAMP MANAGEMENT: provide humanitarian assistance and life sustaining services in organised camps and ensure support for hundreds of self-settled settlements;

WATER AND SANITATION: ensure access to minimum safe drinking water supply and sanitary means of waste disposal in camps and urban areas; ensure provision and management of solid waste disposal facilities/services for 140,000 people in camps, urban congregations, and rural areas; manage solid waste disposal for people in camps and urban congregations; promote safe hygiene practices and environmental health awareness;

HEALTH: provide life-saving services, through the continuing maintenance of at least sixteen field hospitals; support 150 Basic Health Units (BHUs) to provide primary care; provide drugs and staff where necessary. About 100 BHUs and 20 Rural Health Centres (RHCs) will be replaced with pre-fabricated buildings by mid-January. All camps of over 50 tents have access to a primary health care facility. Provision of primary health care to people above the snowline, through pre-positioning health kits. Early detection of disease outbreak will be maintained. Nine teams of psycho-social professionals will be provided;

PROTECTION: pursue the identification and registration of the most vulnerable groups. Psycho-social support to all vulnerable populations will be provided;

EDUCATION: ensure that one-third of school-age children previously in school in earthquake-affected areas (summer zone) are re-enrolled. Support parents' readiness to send their children to school by ensuring school structures appropriate to the context and functional needs. Children will be given textbooks and basic learning materials free of charge, plus special teaching-learning materials which deal with post-earthquake trauma. Teachers will be trained.

EARLY RECOVERY AND RECONSTRUCTION: in support of employment and livelihoods, cash for work programmes for basic sustenance, small business activities and rubble removal will be organized. Demonstrations and training for emergency shelter construction and reconstruction of earthquake resilient housing units will be organized. Cooking and heating equipment will be provided to the affected population. And enhance the capacity for administration, planning and management.

LOGISTICS: maintain two parallel supply chains - by road and by air, meeting the increased demand for air deliveries; promote use of commercial transport contracting for use of such assets for secondary transport at hubs; maintain warehouse facilities, and offer advance forward hubs on demand.

IT/COMMUNICATIONS: ensure that all common locations are MOSS compliant from a telecommunications perspective and all common locations have basic data connectivity provided through use of VSAT systems.


Implementing the humanitarian response plan to address these priorities is dependent upon a number of factors, not least the availability of sufficient humanitarian capacity and resources. At 2 December, some $160 million has been committed/contributed to the United Nations Flash Appeal. A further $64.5 million has been pledged. All together, 40 per cent of the requirements specified in the United Nations $550 million Flash Appeal are covered.

The complementary roles in the relief effort played by the Government of Pakistan and the humanitarian community have not only allowed the effective use of assets, staff and resources to benefit the humanitarian operation, but has also reduced some anticipated funding requirements initially reflected in the Flash Appeal.

In this context, and given this continued complementary role, needs can be met, but subject to additional funding coming, as during the month of November, when almost US$90 million was received. Without continued financial support, the relief operations will have to be phased down by mid-winter.

Detailed information on the humanitarian relief operation is available at and at

For further information and media assistance, please contact: Ben Malor, PIO /Spokesman, UN - OCHA, Pakistan, Cell phone: +92 (0)301 532 3985 or office: +92 (0) 51 209 7864, Email :


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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