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Bulletin No. 16 – South Asia earthquake

24-10-2005 Operational Update

In the aftermath of the earthquake in South Asia, the ICRC has issued an emergency appeal for additional funding and is concentrating its relief efforts on providing medical assistance, shelter, food and water to those affected.

 ICRC basic health care unit opens next to hospital in Muzaffarabad  

A basic health care unit, provided by the German Red Cross, opened at midday today, next to the ICRC field hospital at the cricket ground in Muzaffarabad. During the afternoon, its team of eight treated 25 patients.

According to the German medical staff, one third of the patients were earthquake victims, while two thirds had common illnesses. The team referred some of the earthquake victims to the field hospital for more specialized treatment.

They also recorded many patients who were in need of psychological support or suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. This issue is becoming increasingly prominent and medical teams on the spot are discussing ways of dealing with the problem.

The aim of the health care unit is to perform minor surgery and treat as many people who are slightly injured or have minor illnesses as possible. This will relieve pressure on hospital beds that are needed for the most seriously injured or those requiring more complex treatment.

 ICRC field hospital in Muzaffarabad  


The field hospital admitted eight new patients today. The total number now stands at 72. Nineteen operations were performed today bringing the total to 80 since the opening of the hospital.

 Over 1,500 families assisted in Neelum valley  

ICRC teams today supplied 4,950 blankets and 1,210 tarpaulins to 1,580 families (8,000 individuals) in the villages of Rajkot and Serian, in the upper Ghori valley. The aid was transported by ICRC helicopter.

 Preparing distributions in Jhelum valley  

Other air-born teams drew up lists of future beneficiaries with the help of village elders in Gujar Bandi and Chinari in the Jhelum valley.

The ICRC is working closely with the Pakistan Red Crescent in Jhelum Valley. Cooperation with their branch in Muzaffarabad is excellent and the PRCS is currently assessing needs in the area of Hattian. With ICRC support, the PRCS will distribute assistance to three clusters of villages situated at higher altitudes on the southern side of the Jhelum River and respond to needs in Muzaffarabad itself.

 To date, almost 20,000 beneficiaries have received shelter assistance from ICRC.  

 Green light for new ICRC basic health care unit in Neelum Valley.  

Following a recent field evaluation and discussions with the medical authorities, the ICRC today decided to set up a new basic health care unit, provided by the Finnish Red Cross, in the village of Pattika in the Neelum valley. 

The Finnish Red Cross team flew to Pattika to discuss practical details with the local authorities and villagers. They treated 40 patients on the spot and evacuated three injured earthquake victims by helicopter to the ICRC field hospital in Muzaffarabad. According to the team, there were many people with psychological problems.

In Nerpura, a second Finnish Red Cross team visited a highly vulnerable community where they treated 46 patients and performed minor surgery on two of the injured. The villagers also needed psychological support and were relieved to be able to speak to the medical staff.

 Medical set-up in Jhelum valley and possible new location for basic health care unit  

The Japanese Red Cross basic health care unit is being re-deployed to another area in the Jhelum valley after completing emergency medical care in Chikar.

Today they travelled for a second day to the village of Chinari. They treated 60 injured people there yesterday, half of them children. Two of the injured were evacuated by helicopter.

The Japanese team had very positive contacts with the authorities and local population in preparation for their re-deployment over the coming days.

Chinari has a population of approximately 1,600 people. Several hundred dead were reported following the earthquake and the town suffered massive destruction of its infrastructure. It is an important centre for the villages around, where some 30,000 people live. Many of them regularly travel to Chinari. Injured people are still arriving there from remoter villages.

Since Chinari provides an opportunity to reach a large number of victims from a central location, and there is already a Pakistan Red Crescent first aid post there, the ICRC considers it a suitable place for a basic health care unit.


For further information, please contact:

 Islamabad / Pakistan  

 Leyla Berlemont  

 mobile +92 300 850 81 38  

 satellite. phone: ++88 216 89 80 41 45  

  attn: L. Berlemont

(ICRC Islamabad central tel. ++92 51 282 47 80 or 282 47 52)

Languages: English/French/Arabic



 Muzaffarabad / Pakistan-administered Kashmir  

 Raza Hamdani : mobile + 92 300 850 56 93  

 or Helena Laatio (ICRC/Finnish Red Cross), satellite phone +88 2165 420 7201  


 New Delhi / India  

 Caspar Landolt  

 mobile: ++91 98 11 80 66 33  


ICRC New Delhi central tel. ++91 11 24 35 23 38/97 or 24 35 43 94/95/96)

Languages: English/French/German/P ortuguese

 Geneva / Switzerland  

 Vincent Lusser  

 mobile: ++41 79 217 32 64  

Languages: English/French/German    



 ICRC Geneva press secretariat  

 tel. ++41 22 730 34 43  


Pakistan: GMT + 5 hours; India: GMT + 5.5 hours; Geneva: GMT + 2 hours