Bulletin No. 20 - South Asia earthquake
01-11-2005 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.
ICRC President visits Pakistan
On arriving in Pakistan today, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Jakob Kellenberger, said that every effort must be made to enable victims of the earthquake to remain in or close to their villages over the winter. During his stay, Mr Kellenberger will meet Pakistan's president, General Pervez Musharraf, and visit ICRC operations in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
Today the President visited the ICRC logistics hub at Abbotabad. He then flew to Gujar Bandi in Jhelum valley for a distribution of relief aid, and from there to Rajkot in Neelum valley where food was flown in by helicopter for the earthquake victims.
Please see today's ICRC press release.
ICRC basic health care units now operational in Neelum and Jhelum valleys
Two ICRC basic health care units opened over the weekend in Pathika (Neelum valley) and Chinari (Jhelum valley). They will provide a wide range of health services to the population in an d around these villages and arrange for evacuations by helicopter of people in need of more complex medical treatment. They are, in practice, replacing health ministry facilities destroyed during the earthquake.
In Pathika, a team of eight Finnish Red Cross medics have treated 168 patients since the opening of the unit on 29 October and arranged for six evacuations by helicopter. The four tents set up so far stand amongst the rubble of a former clinic that was totally destroyed.
The Japanese Red Cross team's basic health unit in Chikar has now relocated to Chinari, where they started treating patients on 30 October. All the material had to be brought in by helicopter and an ICRC team is still working to improve water supplies. Some138 patients were treated at the facility on Sunday and Monday and two patients evacuated to Muzaffarabad.
In Muzaffarabad, the German basic health care unit situated next to the field hospital now treats over one hundred patients a day. On 29 October, the number reached 136 and, for the first time, two babies were delivered in the unit.
The ICRC field hospital currently has 111 inpatients. It has conducted over 220 consultations so far. The hospital is currently being expanded to 150 beds.
One thousand families now receive ICRC aid each day
The seven ICRC helicopters now in service have substantially speeded up aid delivery. On Sunday and Monday alone, they flew 54 rotations to remote villages of Neelum and Jhelum valleys . In Jhelum valley, ICRC aid is partly delivered by road.
This extra capacity means not less than one thousand families are helped each day.
As of 31 October, the ICRC had delivered over 527 tonnes of aid to over 39,500 people (over 3,400 received aid a second time). Fourteen different villages have received supplies in the last three days alone.
The assistance has included:
8,000 tarpaulins and 2,000 tents
130 tonnes of rice
44 tonnes of split peas
25 tonnes of ghee (cooking fat)
18 tonnes of sugar
close to four tonnes of tea and almost two tonnes of salt
While aid deliveries continue, ICRC teams are also surveying new areas.
In the past few days, an ICRC team reached the valley of Panjkot – situated in the remote reaches of Neelum valley – where 1,200 families live at an altitude of 5-6,000 feet. Almost all the buildings have been destroyed and living conditions are harsh because the valley faces north, has a colder climate and crop production is less than in other parts of Neelum valley. All access roads to the valley are blocked and it will not be opened up before next spring.
Re-establishing family links
ICRC delegates regularly make their satellite phones available to people in villages that have not had an opportunity to contact their relatives after the earthquake. Over the past few days, people in Gujar Bandi (Jhelum valley) made 120 such phone calls. For most of them, it was their first such opportunity.
Please note that South Asia earthquake bulletins will be issued twice a week from now on.
For further information, please contact:
Islamabad / Pakistan
mobile +92 300 850 81 38
satellite phone: +88 216 89 80 41 45
attention: L. Berlemont
(ICRC Islamabad central tel. +92 51 282 47 80 or 282 47 52)
Muzaffarabad / Pakistan-administered Kashmir
Jessica Barry, ICRC Muzaffarabad, + 92 300 852 87 04
or Helena Laatio (ICRC/Finnish Red Cross), satellite phone +88 2165 420 7201
New Delhi / India
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)
Geneva / Switzerland
mobile +41 79 217 32 64
ICRC Geneva press secretariat
tel. +41 22 730 34 43
Pakistan: GMT + 4 hours; India: GMT + 4.5 hours; Geneva: GMT +1