Bulletin No 4 - South Asia earthquake
12-10-2005 Operational Update
In Pakistan, the official death toll is now approaching 30,000 and is expected to continue to rise as more remote areas become accessible. The Pakistani authorities estimate that four million people were directly affected by the earthquake including one million severely (i.e. total loss of shelter and livelihood). International search and rescue operations continue, but few new survivors are now being found in the estimated ten thousand collapsed buildings.
Significant numbers of people are leaving Muzaffarabad via Abbottabad and Murree. There is no significant movement of people to Muzaffarabad from the remote villages to the north. It is not yet clear whether the people in the villages are unwilling or unable to leave.
Heavy rains over the last 48 hours significantly slowed the rescue and relief response and increased the risk of landslides on access roads and in the villages. The weather has now cleared, allowing a resumption of helicopter flights.
In India, earthquake victims in Jammu and Kashmir are also battling against snow and rain. The official death toll has reached 1,300 with up to 4,400 wounded. As winter approaches, 50,000 people have been left homeless. The majority of the houses destroyed were uninsured and their owners now face major financial losses and difficulty rebuilding their homes. The authorities report that there are almost 32,000 collapsed or damaged buildings in Kashmir and 526 in Jammu division.
ICRC aid flowing into Pakistan
So far, the ICRC has airlifted over 200 tonnes of emergency materials in six flights from Geneva, the Middle East and Sri Lanka, to Peshawar and Islamabad. Fifty tonnes of food were purchased locally and 50 tonnes were transferred by truck from ICRC warehouses in Afghanistan to Abbotabad.
The first distribution in Muzaffarabad is scheduled for Thursday 13 October. Del iveries will take place from Abbotabad by road.
Weather permitting, the first of the ICRC's helicopters that have now arrived in Pakistan from Afghanistan, will transport a first aid station to Muzaffarabad on Thursday. It was airlifted from Geneva last night.
In Islamabad, the ICRC has now rented 10,000m2 of warehousing and an additional 20 trucks.
Joint ICRC- International Federation logistics cooperation
In order to ensure efficient and effective coordination in Pakistan, the ICRC and the International Federation are setting up a joint logistics structure in Islamabad to support the operations of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement . It will handle and store all goods provided by the Movement and routed through the city. There will be daily coordination of activities in both Geneva and in the field.
In Peshawar , the ICRC had an existing logistics and procurement centre to support normal ICRC operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is now also supporting the emergency relief operation in Pakistan.
A British Red Cross logistics emergency response unit (ERU) arrived on the 11 October and set up an ICRC logistics operation in Abbotabad .
The ICRC itself will handle all air operations.
ICRC teams on the spot
The existing ICRC delegation in Islamabad and sub delegation in Peshawar are now heavily involved in the earthquake relief operation. Close to 200 ICRC personnel are based in the two centres.
In the earthquake area, the ICRC team in Muzaffarabad will increase to 50 expatriate staff in the next few days. They are being housed in tents since there is no accommodation available in the town. There are now eight expatriate staff in Abbotabad.
The medical team alone will number over 50 people by the end of the week. They will work in the ICRC first aid station, the field hospital and two initial basic health care units provided by the German and Japanese Red Cross societies. These units are currently being dispatched to the Muzaffarabad area.
Re-establishing family links
An ICRC family tracing specialist is now in Muzaffarabad to assess tracing needs and movements of people. Some city telephone landlines are working, but mobile networks are not. A Pakistani telecommunications network is making a telephone station available for people to call their families free of charge.
Seven ICRC/Pakistan Red Crescent tracing teams will be set up as access to remote areas becomes possible.
Following a request by the Pakistani authorities, the ICRC will support their efforts to handle human remains, notably by sharing the ICRC's Guidelines on handling of mortal remains . These guidelines, developed by t he ICRC in the framework of its action to resolve the problem of people unaccounted for as a result of armed conflict, outline procedures to facilitate identification of the dead.
In India, the ICRC is relying on local purchases since the necessary material is widely available on the market. Along with Indian Red Cross teams in Jammu and Kashmir, the ICRC is delivering 500 family size tents, 47,000 blankets and over 10,000 cooking pots to the area.
The Maharasthra branch of the IRCS is also sending 1,400 blankets and 100 tents.
There will be more local purchases later in the week.
mobile ++92 300 850 81 38
attn: L. Berlemont
(ICRC Islamabad central tel. no: ++92 51 282 47 80 - 282 47 52)
Peshawar/Pakistan (will move)
Olivier MOECKLI : mobile ++ 92 300 85 28 703
sat. phone ++ 88 216 511 012 97
Please contact via ICRC Islamabad
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)
mobile ++41 79 217 32 64
ICRC Geneva press secretariat
tel. ++41 22 730 34 43
Please also check www.icrc.org
Please note that Pakistan time is GMT +5 hrs, India time is GMT +5.5, Geneva is at GMT +2hrs.