Pakistan

World Vision ready to assist in Pakistan's quake-affected province

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World Vision Pakistan is meeting with international and national aid agencies, and government bodies, in preparation for a response to the latest earthquake to hit the south-west of the country.

"World Vision does not have any programs in the affected province of Balochistan but will contribute to a relief response, if the scale of the impact warrants our involvement," said Graham Strong, World Vision Pakistan Country Director.

An emergency consortium, Pakistan Humanitarian Forum, of which World Vision Pakistan is a member, is conducting a rapid assessment. The 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck about 70 kilometres north of Quetta, just after 4am local time today.

World Vision staff are on stand-by to travel to the earthquake affected zone, about 1.5 hours flight from the capital, Islamabad.

"We are capable of mobilising nationally to assist in this response. We are relying on partner assessment data, which is to be compiled tomorrow. World Vision wants to respond, however we are not yet sure of the needs. If we do assist, it will be through implementing partners on the ground," said Graham Strong.

The official death toll from the earthquake is 150, with 500 people injured and more than 15,000 displaced. Some 2-3,000 houses have been reported damaged and 500 have collapsed. In the city of Ziarat, houses are either partially or severely damaged. Four other main areas have been affected: Harnai, Qilla Abdullah, Vaam, and Kelli Zargoom.

More casualties are expected as reports suggest people are still under the debris. Survivors will also be affected by temperatures below zero Celsius.

The Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is requesting 2,000 tents and 5,000 blankets so far, to assist survivors.

The emergency consortium, developed following the October 2005 earthquake that killed more than 73,000 people and injured a similar number. World Vision assisted more than 116,000 people in the past 3 years through its earthquake relief and rehabilitation project, to rebuild their lives.

Media contact:

World Vision Middle East, Eastern Europe & Central Asia-Communications Director: Rienk van Velzen, Mobile: +31 180 525747 (+2 GMT)

World Vision Pakistan's communication team is receiving latest updates via media contacts in Quetta.