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South Asia earthquake: Medical care and shelter top priorities in ICRC appeal

18-10-2005 News Release 05/56

Geneva (ICRC) – The immediate priority of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for its emergency-aid programme in Pakistan-administered Kashmir is to provide medical care, protection from the cold, food and water, the need for which will remain acute at least until the winter ends next April.

Medical care will require intensive staffing and logistics. Over time, needs and priorities will shift and so require other forms of aid such as helping provide more permanent shelter and long-term measures to ensure adequate food and water. Most of the activities planned will depend heavily on weather conditions.

The ICRC is now adding 56.5 million Swiss francs to its original appeal for 5.6 million, bringing the total to 62 million francs (almost 48 million US dollars, or 40 million euros).

This budget extension will fund the organization's activities until the end of 2005. During this period the ICRC intends to work closely with the Pakistan Red Crescent Society and a number of internationally active National Societies to:

  • provide life-saving medical care for those injured by the earthquake;

  • provide enough food, shelter and other materials to enable 150,000 earthquake victims to survive the winter;

  • ensure adequate water supply in heavily populated areas;

  • restore family links.

The ICRC is operating in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is working in the rest of the country. Both are cooperating closely with the Pakistan Red Crescent.

The activities planned will be carried out through a joint logistics network that is being coordinated from Islamabad, with an advance base in Abbottabad. A second base will soon be set up in Mansehra. The operation will eventually involve about 100 truck s and 10 helicopters.

In order to carry out its new activities in Pakistan, the ICRC will increase its staffing there to almost 200 delegates and over 500 locally recruited personnel.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Today: Ian Piper, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 22 730 20 63 or +41 79 217 32 16  

 From tomorrow: Vincent Lusser, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 22 730 24 26 or +41 79 217 32 64