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Pakistan: ICRC appeals for emergency funds to assist earthquake victims

31-10-2008 News Release 08/199

Geneva / Islamabad (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has launched a preliminary appeal for nine million Swiss francs to help the victims of the earthquakes that jolted south-western Pakistan on 29 October.

The funds will enable the ICRC and the Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) to step up their emergency assistance operations.

The death toll in the most affected areas of Baluchistan province is estimated at over 200. The number of wounded remains unclear, but the ICRC estimates that the quake affected 20,000 to 30,000 people.

Worst hit was Ziarat, a district 60 km north of Quetta with a population of 50,000.'' Over 4,000 mud and timber houses were destroyed, leaving thousands of people homeless, " said Pascal Cuttat, the ICRC's head of delegation in Islamabad.'' Our priority will be to provide shelter as winter sets in. Because of continuing aftershocks, many people decided to sleep outdoors, at altitudes of 2,000 to 2,500 metres'' .

Immediately after the tremors hit, the ICRC and the Pakistan Red Crescent provided medical supplies to local health facilities treating the injured. The two organizations also assessed the capacities of hospitals in Quetta and began delivering emergency aid to people affected by the disaster. Hundreds of tents, tarpaulins and blankets have been distributed, along with food and essential household items. An ICRC tracing team stands ready to assist people who wish to locate or communicate with loved ones.

The ICRC is supporting the PRCS and coordinating its response with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. It is working in close contact with the Pakistani authorities and other humanitarian organizations to ensure a coordinated and effective humanitarian response.

 For more information, please contact:  

 Carla Haddad Mardini, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 22 730 2405 or +41 79 217 3226  

 Simon Schorno, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 79 251 9302  

 Marco Succi, ICRC Islamabad, tel. +92 300 850 813