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Bulletin No 6 - South Asia earthquake

14-10-2005 Operational Update

 Wounded villagers flown out in helicopter shuttle from Neelum Valley, aid flown in  

   
  © ICRC/AF-E-00334    
 
  Kabul. A helicopter being loaded with emergency relief items. 
     

A large-scale operation is under way to evacuate the wounded from villages in the valleys beyond Muazffarabad and to provide the village rs with much needed relief supplies. The ICRC today joined in this effort with two helicopters.

The ICRC concentrated its efforts on Zaran, a village situated about 35 km east of Muzaffarabad. The villagers had gathered their wounded on wooden beds close to an improvised helicopter landing patch in a field. Many of the wounded were in a very serious condition, including a woman with a fractured skull and many young children with severe fractures.

An ICRC doctor remained on the spot to prepare the wounded for transport while the ICRC helicopters flew eight rotations to Muzaffarabad with 10 wounded on board each time. By the end of the day, they had evacuated over 70 people.

From a makeshift reception point at Muazaffarabad helicopter pad, ICRC medical staff transferred the wounded to the two medical facilities that are still functioning in the town or handed the wounded over the Pakistani army medical services active in this area.

In their flights out to the villages, the helicopters carried 200 blankets, over 400 litres of bottled water, food and warm clothes. Apart from medical needs, warm clothing and shelter are priorities in the villages and the wider region at the moment.

In Zaran, most buildings have collapsed and the scene is one of utter desolation. The access road is impassable and the ground has collapsed six metres because of the earthquake. Unfortunately, the dead were buried close to the village spring and the water is no longer safe to drink. To the surprise of the ICRC team, a phone line had remained intact and villagers had been able to communicate with the outside world.

 Neelum Valley is the ICRC's priority area  

    

Over the coming days, ICRC teams will repeat the Zaran exercise in other villages along the valley. A medical doctor will be based on the ground during the day to treat the wounded and prepare others for evacuation.

Medical facilities in Muzaffarabad are congested and ICRC doctors will try to treat as many people as possible on the spot.

At the same time, other ICRC staff are assessing the need for shelter, clothing and clean water so that they can supply the villages with essential relief items. They will also try to restore links between separated family members.

 ICRC field hospital: work in progress at Muzaffarabad cricket ground  

    

The foundations were laid today for the 100-bed tented field hospital being set up at the former cricket ground. The materials arrived by truck from the ICRC logistics centre in Abbotabad.

 Afghan support  

    

Since 1981, the ICRC delegation in Pakistan has supported the organization's humanitarian operations in Afghanistan. With the earthquake in Pakistan, the ICRC's Kabul delegation has now become a support structure itself, providing relief supplies and seconded staff to the earthquake operation.

The two helicopters currently flying for the ICRC in the earthquake area were also hired in Afghanistan.

Following the arrival of the first convoy of aid from the ICRC's Kabul warehouses, another two trucks reached Peshawar today and will proceed to Abbotabad and Muzaffarabad tomorrow to deliver 5,000 blankets, 52 t ents, 4,500 jerry cans and soap.

    

 Family tracing in Islamabad hospitals  

    

ICRC tracing teams today visited four hospitals in Islamabad to help wounded people evacuated from the earthquake area re-establish contacts with their families back home. The team has already reunited two children with their families.

For more information please contact:

 Islamabad/Pakistan  

ICRC Islamabad central tel. no: ++92 51 282 47 80 - 282 47 52

 
   

languages: English/French/ Arabic

 Muzaffarabad/Pakistan-administered Kashmir  

 Olivier MOECKLI or Raza HAMDANI  

 sat. phone ++ 88 216 511 012 97  

 New Delhi/India  

 Caspar Landolt  

 mobile ++ 91 98 11 80 66 33  

 
   

(ICRC New Delhi central tel. no: ++91 11 24 35 23 38/97 - 24 35 43 94/95/96)

Languages: English/French/German/Portugese

    

    

 Geneva/Switzerland  

 Ian Piper  

 mobile ++41 79 217 32 16  

Languages: English/French    

    

 ICRC Geneva press secretariat  

 tel. ++41 22 730 34 43  

 
   

Please note that Pakistan time is GMT +5 hrs, India time is GMT +5.5, Geneva is at GMT +2hrs.