Bulletin No 1 - South Asia earthquake
09-10-2005 Operational Update
Tens of thousands of people are reported to have died following the earthquake which struck at 3h50 GMT (8h50 LT in Pakistan and 9h20 LT in India) on 8 October with a magnitude of 7.6 on the Richter scale, and centred in the Kashmiri border area between India and Pakistan. The worst damage appears to be in the villages around Muzaffarabad which is in the line of co ntrol area.
The most devastated areas are remote and mountainous and have been affected by heavy rain. Many access routes are reportedly blocked or damaged.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) presently has no independent figures on the numbers of dead, injured or homeless caused by the earthquake.
An ICRC team is on its way to Muzaffarabad to assess the humanitarian situation there. They are expected to arrive on the spot tomorrow, 10 October if they can find viable roads. The ICRC has a small office in Muzaffarabad however, communications with it are presently not possible.
The ICRC's team in Islamabad, Pakistan is being reinforced with additional expert staff to deal with water and habitat, emergency assistance, medial emergencies and logistics.
A first emergency consignment of 10,000 blankets and 3,000 tarpaulins (sufficient to assist about 3,000 families) is on its way to Islamabad from ICRC stocks in Kabul.
A joint ICRC and Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) team is on its way to Poonch, to assess the destruction and needs in the area and is expected to arrive there tomorrow. They are carrying an initial supply of emergency medical items.
Another ICRC team is in Srinagar to support the IRCS Jammu and Kashmir branch. Hours after the disaster struck, they were set to distribute 1,500 blankets, 300 kitchen sets and medical supplies in order to help the populations most affected in the area. IRCS is bringing 20,000 blankets from Delhi to Srinagar.
Additionally, an ICRC and IRCS team plans to travel from Srinagar to Uri on 10 October. The team will carry out assessments and bring emergency food and medical supplies to the area.
The ICRC has also put resources at the disposal of the IRCS to cover transport costs of their staff and volunteers and to enable them to buy emergency supplies.
Priorities in the coming days are to provide emergency shelter, food, water and household items to those made homeless, to deliver medical support to existing health facilities and to set up a service to re-establish links between separated family members. All these activities will be done in cooperation with the national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and a large number of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies outside the affected area have already offered their support in cash, kind and staff to assist with emergency relief.
For more information please contact:
mobile ++92 300 850 81 38
attn: L. Berlemont
(ICRC Islamabad central tel. no: ++92 51 282 47 80 - 282 47 52)
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)
Ian Piper (on watch this weekend)
mobile ++41 79 217 32 16
Vincent Lusser (from Monday)
mobile ++41 79 217 32 64
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.