As winter approaches, UN assesses urgent needs of Pakistani earthquake survivors

Survivors of a deadly earthquake that struck western Pakistan two weeks ago urgently need winterized tents, blankets, warm clothing, food, health services and restored drinking water supplies as already very low temperatures are likely to plunge even lower as winter approaches, according to the latest United Nations assessment.

Six teams from the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the UN World Health Organisation (WHO), along with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), visited 63 villages over the past four days in south-western Baluchistan province, where the quake killed almost 200 people, injured hundreds more and left 20,000 others destitute among an already poor and vulnerable population in these areas.

WFP said it had almost completed distribution of food rations to 15,000 people in Ziarat and 5,000 in Pishin districts, with 5,000 others expected to receive agency aid by today. Some 300 tons of food has been distributed for a period of one month.

The next distribution is to take place in the first week of December, completing WFP's initial response of 700 tons to feed 20,000 people for two months. WFP has distributed fortified ready-to-eat biscuits to Ziarat, the worst-affected district, from its warehouses in Quetta, the provincial capital. The agency is also distributing wheat flour, pulses, vegetable oil and salt in ration packets in the worst-affected villages.