Caritas Pakistan will provide immediate shelter and warm bedding to 1200 families who survived a deadly earthquake this week in the Hindu Kush region. The 7.7 magnitude quake affected rural areas in Afghanistan and Pakistan, damaging over 9000 houses. Caritas Pakistan is seeking international support to reach the victims in time with shelter and other aid to save their lives.
According to the first reports from two Caritas Pakistan assessment teams, the most urgent uncovered needs are for shelter, winterisation and hygiene. The teams sent this report:
What is the level of destruction seen by your staff?
Initially on entering affected areas, everything seemed normal, but all of the sudden we saw some houses that have been completely or partially damaged. There is a bitter situation in more remote areas. Roads are damaged, houses and boundary walls are demolished. A number of mountainous areas are still not accessible. There is state of fear and anxiety among the survivors. Aid is needed urgently as winter approaches.
What sort of terrain are we dealing with?
It’s a mountainous region with hilly swathes. There are very few populated towns but more scattered villages and settlements. It is not easy to travel to the remote areas. A journey that would normally take 2 hours, took us 5 hours. The government is also using air services in providing relief to some affected areas.
Where are the people staying who have lost their homes?
Mostly, poor people have lost their houses which were made of mud, wood and stones. The majority of the affected people are forced to stay under open sky in extreme cold weather. Due to scattered damaged in far flung areas, camps have not been established by the authorities.
What are the immediate needs?
Priority needs of the victims are winterisation, temporary shelter, household items, hygiene kits, food and healthcare. Then there will be the need to restart livelihoods and repair schools.
What is the priority for Caritas Pakistan?
Caritas Pakistan is planning to respond on emergency basis to earthquake affected areas by providing the following items.
- 1200 winterisation packages
- 1000 temporary shelters
- 1200 household item kits
- 1200 hygiene kits and promotion
An assessment will also be made for the recovery and rehabilitation interventions for the earthquake victims.