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Bulletin No. 17 – South Asia earthquake

25-10-2005 Operational Update

In the aftermath of the earthquake in South Asia, the ICRC has issued an emergency appeal for additional funding and is concentrating its relief efforts on providing medical assistance, shelter, food and water to those affected.

Within little more than two weeks of starting work to help the victims of the earthquake in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, the ICRC - together with the Pakistan Red Crescent Society and the British, Finnish, German, Japanese and Norwegian Red Cross societies - has:

  • evacuated close to 500 seriously injured earthquake victims by ICRC helicopter;

  • set up a tented field hospital with 100 beds in Muzaffarabad, supplied by the Finnish and Norwegian Red Cross, that performed over 80 operations within three days of opening and is currently caring for 92 inpatients;

  • set up a basic health care unit at Muzaffarabad (German Red Cross) where doctors have treated over 100 patients since its opening on 24 October;

  • deployed medical teams in Neelum and Jhelum valleys to treat the injured on the spot or prepare them for evacuation. The Japanese Red Cross basic health care unit began in Chikar where it treated over 370 patients and is now moving to Chinari, both in Jhelum valley. A second, Finnish Red Cross unit, is being set up in Pattika in Neelum valley;

  • provided initial emergency assistance to over 11,000 people that included over 100 tonnes of food (rice, peas, ghee, sugar, salt), 8,000 blankets and over 2,000 tarpaulins or tents;

  • sent assessment teams to the remote areas of Neelum and Jhelum valleys to identify the most vulnerable communities and prepare distribution lists with local elders and the authorities for a major assistance operation that is now under way;

  • supplied the local water board in Muzaffarabad with spare parts, repair material and chemicals that helped it resume water supplies. Provided pipes and other materials to repair leaks and ensure water was supplied to essential medical facilities in the town;

  • helped villagers contact their loved ones by ICRC satellite phone whenever necessary (for example 50 villagers in Chinari today) and, in particular, worked closely with the Pakistani authorities to help children separated from their families;

  • in cooperation with the Pakistan Red Crescent Society, provided support in the management of human remains to the unit of the Pakistani army in charge of collecting the dead, to an institute in Islamabad and to a local NGO in Muzaffarabad; supplied them with 1,100 body bags, a refrigerated container and cameras to assist in identification;

  • expanded the ICRC expatriate team in Pakistan from 20 before the earthquake to over 160 today (over 100 in Muzaffarabad), including close to 100 medical staff;

  • established a joint logistics set-up with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, including an ICRC logistical hub in Abbotabad supported by the British Red Cross;

  • built up a fleet of five ICRC helicopters and some 100 trucks.

 Coordination  

The ICRC is coordinating its humanitarian operations closely with the Pakistani authorities, the Pakistan Red Crescent Society and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The ICRC leads the action of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement in Pakistan-administered Kashmir while the International Federation leads the assistance action on behalf of earthquake victims in other areas of Pakistan. The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement is also coordinating its action with UN agencies and NGOs active in the area.

    

    

    

For further information, please contact:

 Islamabad / Pakistan  

Leyla Berlemont

mobile +92 300 850 81 38

satellite phone: +88 216 89 80 41 45

 
  attn: L. Berlemont

(ICRC Islamabad central tel. +92 51 282 47 80 or 282 47 52)

Languages: English/French/Arabic

 Muzaffarabad / Pakistan-administered Kashmir  

Raza Hamdani, satellite phone +92 300 850 56 93

Jean-François Berger, mobile phone + 41 79 358 32 15

or Helena Laatio (ICRC/Finnish Red Cross), satellite phone +88 2165 420 7201

    

    

 New Delhi / India  

Caspar Landolt

mobile +91 98 11 80 66 33

 
  (ICRC New Delhi central tel. +91 11 24 35 23 38/97 or 24 35 43 94/95/96)

Languages: English/French/German/Portuguese

 Geneva / Switzerland  

Vincent Lusser

mobile +41 79 217 32 64

Languages: English/French/German    

    

    

 ICRC Geneva press secretariat  

tel. +41 22 730 34 43

 
   Please also check: www.icrc.org  

    

    

Pakistan: GMT + 5 hours; India: GMT + 5.5 hours; Geneva: GMT + 2 hours