Bulletin No 5 - South Asia earthquake
13-10-2005 Operational Update
The situation in Muzaffarabad
ICRC teams report that earthquake survivors still in the town are trying to stay next to their collapsed houses. For the moment, there are no camps or large concentrations of displaced people in Muzaffarabad. Electricity supply is badly affected, but the authorities are saying that the system might be back in place by next week.
More and more aid is coming into the town, which was home to over 120,000 people before the earthquake struck.
ICRC aid gets to Muzaffarabad
The ICRC made a first distribution today of blankets, tarpaulins and warm shawls to over 400 families. This material came in by truck from Abbotabad. Each family received six blankets, one tarpaulin and two shawls.
Another positive aspect of the distribution is that it confirmed it is possible to carry out distributions without the stampedes often seen in previous days. Distributions are to continue tomorrow.
There are currently 17 ICRC personnel based in Muzaffarabad, including two seconded by the Japanese Red Cross.
First ICRC helicopter flights and aerial survey of the valleys
An ICRC helicopter today underto ok its first flight, transporting more ICRC staff and tents to Muzaffarabad.
The ICRC team then carried out the first aerial survey of villages in the valleys beyond Muzaffarabad. They reported that destruction is massive and villages and concrete structures are " shockingly flattened " .
It appears that the harvest had not taken place before the earthquake and is therefore largely preserved in the fields. Many sheep and goats were visible and the initial impression is that shelter and warm clothing is the first priority in the valleys surveyed, rather that food.
The teams will return to the valleys tomorrow by helicopter to deliver aid, evacuate wounded people and collect news of families that have lost contact with their loved ones.
In Muzaffarabad, inhabitants still rely on what remains of their individual water storage tanks near their houses. The local authorities have set up a shuttle system of 18 water trucks that supply the town with drinking water.
ICRC engineers today visited the town's main water pumping station. They are ordering the parts necessary to repair it and bring the system back into operation. Before the earthquake, the station supplied 20 million litres of water a day.
Apart from the tracing specialist already in Muzaffarabad, seven other specialists are currently training ICRC/Pakistan Red Crescent teams in Islamabad. Most of these will move to Pakistan-administred Kashmi r as access to villages opens.
Meanwhile, they will concentrate on hospitals in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, where they will register earthquake victims evacuated from the disaster zone that need to re-establish contact with their families in the Muzaffarabad area.
The ICRC New Delhi regional delegation is providing 49,000 blankets, 10,300 kitchen sets and 500 tents to the Jammu and Kashmir branch of the Indian Red Cross Society. The first three trucks of a convoy of ten locally-hired lorries with a consignment of 500 tents, 3,500 kitchen sets and 23,000 blankets reached Srinagar today and are being distributed to earthquake victims in the affected areas. An additional 6,000 blankets have been sent to Jammu.
In addition, an ICRC vehicle with 150 first aid kits, 200 first aid jackets and other material has reached Srinagar. This material is also being handed over to the IRCS.
For more information please contact:
ICRC Islamabad central tel. no: ++92 51 282 47 80 - 282 47 52
Olivier MOECKLI or Raza HAMDANI
sat. phone ++ 88 216 511 012 97
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 note that Pakistan time is GMT +5 hrs, India time is GMT +5.5, Geneva is at GMT +2hrs.