South Asian Earthquake
Pakistan Earthquake Relief - Update: February 2006
On behalf of our partners we would like to thank everyone who has continued to donate money for the relief effort in Pakistan. We recently sent an additional £12,500 to People International (PI) for their work. Funds are still needed, as small local organisations like PI don’t have access to the large amounts being given by foreign governments, but very much value your donations, which they can quickly channel directly to projects on the ground and see the immediate impact.
This is the first time PI has been able to work in Azad Kashmir, which had been completely closed for security reasons prior to the earthquake. Their presence there now as a Christian organisation working among Muslims has helped break down barriers and ease suspicion between the two communities. Local people say “none of your people are killed here – why do you come to help us?” and have commented on the love and care shown by PI and their partners.
PI is working in Azad Kashmir through Pakistan Mission Trust (PMT), in a joint project with several other agencies. PMT is now well established in the area, with good rapport with the local authorities, Mullahs and local communities and are responsible for two relief camps. In a recent briefing the Military Commander of the area commented that he has been very impressed with these two camps: they never asked for resources from him but their standards of sanitation, water supply and food supplies are all excellent. He regards them as a model to the other camps and projects which he oversees in the area.
PI has been trying to help survivors continue with life as best as possible in the tent villages.
They provided Sabir, a tailor by trade, with a sewing machine, so he could provide a service to the new village community.
Many of the people whose lives have been impacted by your donations are living in the harshest and most isolated areas and would otherwise have been excluded by other relief efforts.
A total of £25,500 has so far been sent to our partners in Pakistan for the earthquake relief effort. THANK YOU.
All photographs are copyright of People International.
Pakistan Earthquake Relief - Update: December 20, 2005
Kunhar Christian Hospital (KCH) really proved to be a beacon of light in a devastated area. Just 10 miles from the epicentre, after the earthquake struck it was the only hospital in the area with buildings, staff and electricity. The staff quickly went to work tending and supporting the survivors, while also having to cope with the damage sustained by the hospital itself, which has already resulted in the demolition of 2 staff houses.
In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake the hospital opened its facilities to everyone, providing not only free healthcare, including surgery, but also food, blankets, tents and assisted in clearing debris.
KCH’s work has gone beyond the boundaries of the hospital, as they helped establish the tent city just outside the hospital grounds for the many villagers who had lost their homes. They also realised the need to focus supplies on the areas high up in the mountains, some of which were even inaccessible to jeeps and helicopters – “ Walking on foot and bringing the people carried in beds for miles and miles and with days of travel is the only way”.
The hospital has been conducting clinics in villages in the surrounding areas and assisting in digging wells in neighbouring villages, as well as providing food and supplies. Dr Haroon described the opportunity to visit some of these remote areas as ‘once in a lifetime’ due to the difficulty of reaching these places even in normal circumstances, not only because of the harsh terrain but the fact that the hospital staff had been regarded by some locals as ‘infidels’.
Water supply: The earthquake damaged the water supply to many villages, so KCH has pledged to provide the necessary funds for wells and pipes for villages within a 5 mile radius of the hospital.
Housing assessment: KCH are hoping to help people in the immediate area around the hospital, by supporting them build at least one room so they have a better shelter in the winter.
Reconstruction and repairs of the hospital buildings: Among other things, the staff housing area has to be demolished and rebuilt.
“Kunhar Christian Hospital is a miracle story if there ever was one!.. and its service to the people of the town of GHU and the surrounding area truly spells out being salt and light. …The goodwill that the hospital has generated in the aftermath of the earthquake is far beyond what they had built up in the last sixteen years…” Michael Abel
“This is a historical response to a historical disaster”
Bach Christian Hospital (BCH)
One of the biggest obstacles facing relief agencies has been the procurement and distribution of goods to those who need it most, so though further away from the epicentre than KCH, Bach Christian Hospital’s location on the Karakoram Highway provides an ideal staging point for the distribution of goods to affected families in remote regions of the Kaghan valley. These survivors have generally been unable to access supplies brought by truck or helicopter by aid agencies and the Pakistan Army, who have been focussing their efforts on the more populated areas of Balakot and Muzzafarabad.
In phase 1 of their relief plan, BCH responded to the immediate needs of survivors, treating the many wounded villagers who had come to them from the valley, most of whom had sustained orthopaedic injuries. As well as providing free medical care, the hospital also gave away relief packages to each patient and their accompanying relatives, who took the supplies back to their remote villages. The patients were also able to share which villages had a particularly acute need, enabling the hospital to provide extra supplies to these areas. In the first 10 days of operation, 300 of the packages, which included tents, blankets and food, were distributed.
In phase 2, BCH has been continuing to treat survivors, far more than the hospital was designed for, and is providing them with special relief packages for the winter, which include winterised tents, food, clothing, cooking equipment and if needed, money to assist them in travelling back to their villages.
The focus of this second phase will be on those areas that have been identified by patients and their relatives as both badly damaged by the earthquake, and out of reach of the bulk of other aid initiatives. An expert in disaster management from Sweden has been contacted to provide expertise for the planning and execution of Phase 2. BCH also hopes to provide money and material for reconstruction of houses that have been destroyed.
Michael Abel, People International (PI)
The urgent need to supply tents to earthquake survivors has in part been met by PI, who have been supplying tents to both KCH and BCH, as well as Pakistan Mission Trust (PMT), which has been working in Northern Pakistan and Azad Kashmir. In all about 1,250 tents have been distributed by Michael.
PI are currently assessing the situation in the north of the country, as more durable and weather resistant structures of fibre glass, metal and wood, are being looked at. They are also considering partnering with KCH and PMT to set up a clinic and become more engaged in relief camps, which may involve feeding people, school support and other kinds of support.
Pakistan Earthquake Relief - Update: November 11, 2005
Michael writes after a recent visit to the earthquake affected areas in North Pakistan:
"I have been back from the earthquake affected area for about four days but am at
a loss as to what to write. Four weeks after the event I felt so overwhelmed by the destruction that I cannot even begin to imagine what the people went through at the moment the earthquake occurred. The devastation, the magnitude of destruction, the plight of the affectees, the needs of the people and the loss of infrastructure is beyond putting into words. And yet, life must go on. The Pakistan Army and scores of local and international NGOs and thousands of volunteers are desperately trying ways to bring normalcy to the area. But what is normalcy? In Muzaffarabad, the capital of Azad Kashmir, thousands of men sit ringing the stadium watching helicopters fly out and back in because there is nothing else for them to do. Businesses have been destroyed, shops knocked down, more than a quarter of the population decimated and destruction so complete people don't know where to begin the work of clean up. Mountains that encircle the city bear white marks where landslides flowed carrying whole localities into the Jehlum river or burying communities under the rubble. A TV interviewer putting a question to the Prime Minister addressed him as, "Mr Prime Minister..." who retorted without the question being completed, "Prime Minister of what? This graveyard?"
Pakistan Earthquake Relief - Update: November 1, 2005
A brief update from MIchael, one of our partners in the relief efforts in Pakistan:
"Thank you for your kind and generous donation for the earthquake relief work in northern Pakistan. We have so far been able to send 350 tents and another 300 will be leaving tonight. A further 200 have been ordered today. This latter order is for double fly tents which are 'winterised' ones and what are needed at this present time of winter. Many people are still out under the sky without any shelter."
A Race to Save the Survivors in Pakistan - Update: 23rd October 2005
As winter approaches the most urgent priority is providing shelter for the millions who have been made homeless by the South Asian earthquake, most of them in Pakistan.
“The need here is greater than the existence of tents in the world."
"The gravity of the situation is not getting through…
Few medical supplies and no anesthetics in Balakot
Given the remote locations, the rugged terrain and the difficult weather conditions, the response within the country has been remarkably effective – but enormous needs remain and the concern is now for the survivors.
We are partnering with three small NGOs that are already engaged hands-on with the local situation and working in close co-operation.
Kunhar Christian Hospital, Garhi Habib Ullah, is just ten miles from the epicentre of the earthquake.
Bach Christian Hospital, Abbotabad - 74 miles from the epicentre.
Michael Abel of St Andrew’s Church in Lahore has been mobilising resources for these two hospitals and others in the affected areas.
Read their reports below.
This is an opportunity both to serve those in such great need, through these organisations, and also to help build their capacity, so that they can serve even more in the future.
An example from India: Emmanuel Hospital Association has a well organised Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit which responded immediately to the earthquake’s effects on the Indian side (much smaller than in Pakistan). This unit was first established after the Kosovo crisis in 1999, when SADP was approached by a businessman who wanted to help. We facilitated an EHA team to go there. In so doing we enabled Christians from India to serve Muslims in Kosovo, funded by a Hindu from Hong Kong. When a cyclone struck Orissa, three months later, EHA sent the same team there to help, and it has now become well established, working closely with other NGOs in India, as well as international agencies. You can read their report on their initial response to the earthquake. They were of course active in responding to the Tsunami disaster. That is the kind of leverage that we all love to see.
Kunhar Christian Hospital, Garhi Habib Ullah, is just ten miles from the epicentre of the earthquake. The hospital was seriously damaged and had no food or medicine to begin with.
Dr Haroon Lal Din, medical superintendent, wrote:
“The current need is for blankets and tents/shelter that can be distributed to those people in need in the surrounding villages. As well as focusing on the immediate needs, we are taking time to look at the ‘big picture’ and long term plans of rebuilding, particularly as winter is drawing near."
Bach Christian Hospital, Abbotabad is 74 miles from the epicentre of the earthquake. They report:
“Medical personnel are on high alert, treating patients as fast as possible. Currently there are over 100 patients who have been carried into our facility with significant injuries, including lacerations and fractures. We are feeding these patients who have come with no provisions to care for themselves."
“Tents have been purchased and erected to provide shelter for patients and their families. A large tent has been set up to treat patients at the hospital as well as at a clinic 50 miles further north."
“Significant monsoon rains have saturated the northern areas and when the quake hit, whole mountains moved. Whole villages have collapsed. Most roads have been washed away or covered with massive mudslides. Transport into these areas is now very problematic. The government and military are providing machinery and helicopters for rescue and evacuation."
“Immediate funding is needed for medicines and food at our hospital site which is functioning as a triage center. Pakistan law requires that the dead must be buried within 36 hours. Casualties in the mountain valleys are high and the trauma is massive.”
Michael Abel of St Andrew’s Church in Lahore has been mobilising resources for these two hospitals and others in the affected areas. He writes:
“Today I have also been running around trying to get surgical plaster as it is most needed at the hospital. Our initial estimates range between US $25,000 to $30,000 for immediate relief including tents. People are donating food, clothing and bedding but few are providing medical supplies."
“I am also talking with local doctors and paramedical people if any are available to go. If medical personnel are able to come from overseas they would be most welcome. Pakistan has opened visas for medical professionals with medical supplies so the door is wide open at the moment. If any medical equipment is available that would be very welcome too."
“We are hoping to make a bridgehead in the short term and then be available for the long haul as rehabilitation and rebuilding will be a very long process… "
“…we despatched 100 tents last Friday that were received at Bach Christian Hospital in Qalandarabad along with some food items. The second lot of tents, 250 in number, will be despatched on the 25th, God willing. After that order has been filled the supplier has promised a regular supply of 50 tents a day which means we will be able to send 300 tents a week.“
EHA Report - Situation Update: Oct 28, 2005
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