Bulletin No 6 - South Asia earthquake
14-10-2005 Operational Update
Wounded villagers flown out in helicopter shuttle from Neelum Valley, aid flown in
A large-scale operation is under way to evacuate the wounded from villages in the valleys beyond Muazffarabad and to provide the village rs with much needed relief supplies. The ICRC today joined in this effort with two helicopters.
The ICRC concentrated its efforts on Zaran, a village situated about 35 km east of Muzaffarabad. The villagers had gathered their wounded on wooden beds close to an improvised helicopter landing patch in a field. Many of the wounded were in a very serious condition, including a woman with a fractured skull and many young children with severe fractures.
An ICRC doctor remained on the spot to prepare the wounded for transport while the ICRC helicopters flew eight rotations to Muzaffarabad with 10 wounded on board each time. By the end of the day, they had evacuated over 70 people.
From a makeshift reception point at Muazaffarabad helicopter pad, ICRC medical staff transferred the wounded to the two medical facilities that are still functioning in the town or handed the wounded over the Pakistani army medical services active in this area.
In their flights out to the villages, the helicopters carried 200 blankets, over 400 litres of bottled water, food and warm clothes. Apart from medical needs, warm clothing and shelter are priorities in the villages and the wider region at the moment.
In Zaran, most buildings have collapsed and the scene is one of utter desolation. The access road is impassable and the ground has collapsed six metres because of the earthquake. Unfortunately, the dead were buried close to the village spring and the water is no longer safe to drink. To the surprise of the ICRC team, a phone line had remained intact and villagers had been able to communicate with the outside world.
Neelum Valley is the ICRC's priority area
Over the coming days, ICRC teams will repeat the Zaran exercise in other villages along the valley. A medical doctor will be based on the ground during the day to treat the wounded and prepare others for evacuation.
Medical facilities in Muzaffarabad are congested and ICRC doctors will try to treat as many people as possible on the spot.
At the same time, other ICRC staff are assessing the need for shelter, clothing and clean water so that they can supply the villages with essential relief items. They will also try to restore links between separated family members.
ICRC field hospital: work in progress at Muzaffarabad cricket ground
The foundations were laid today for the 100-bed tented field hospital being set up at the former cricket ground. The materials arrived by truck from the ICRC logistics centre in Abbotabad.
Since 1981, the ICRC delegation in Pakistan has supported the organization's humanitarian operations in Afghanistan. With the earthquake in Pakistan, the ICRC's Kabul delegation has now become a support structure itself, providing relief supplies and seconded staff to the earthquake operation.
The two helicopters currently flying for the ICRC in the earthquake area were also hired in Afghanistan.
Following the arrival of the first convoy of aid from the ICRC's Kabul warehouses, another two trucks reached Peshawar today and will proceed to Abbotabad and Muzaffarabad tomorrow to deliver 5,000 blankets, 52 t ents, 4,500 jerry cans and soap.
Family tracing in Islamabad hospitals
ICRC tracing teams today visited four hospitals in Islamabad to help wounded people evacuated from the earthquake area re-establish contacts with their families back home. The team has already reunited two children with their families.
For more information please contact:
ICRC Islamabad central tel. no: ++92 51 282 47 80 - 282 47 52
languages: English/French/ Arabic
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 16
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.