Monday, February 27, 2006

Impak Summer Program

(image courtesy of
What if you had the opportunity to help the 3.5 million people affected by the earthquake that hit Pakistan on October 8, 2005 to rebuild their lives?

Impak is looking for dynamic, initiative-driven individuals to take on the challenge. Impak's QRSP offers an unparalleled opportunity to learn and make a difference, while living Impak's vision of building bridges and affecting positive change through meaningful work opportunities.

. . .

Impak Announces "Quake Relief Summer Program (QRSP)"

Following a successful pilot program, Impak has reorganized and is making preparations for another summer service corps experience in Pakistan. This year, Impak is focused on supporting reconstruction efforts in Northern Pakistan following the earthquake that devastated the region in October 2005. The 2006 program, dubbed the "Quake Relief Summer Program" (QRSP), places volunteers with established organizations working with people and on projects that serve to restore normality to the region. Volunteers work and live with the organization while Impak supplements the experience with orientation and group travel opportunities.

The QRSP represents a special focus for Impak in 2006; Impak recognizes the incredible circumstances of the earthquake and has made necessary changes from its 2005 program to fulfill Impak's obligation in providing support to this region. Details about the QRSP, including applications and program dates, will be available soon on our website at ; join our mailing list and stay tuned for updates.

About us:

Impak is a private, non-profit organization that seeks to bring positive change by connecting individuals abroad to Pakistan through meaningful work and volunteer opportunities.

Pakistan exhibits a potential illustrated in the ambitions of an emerging population seeking to bring positive change in the country. Impak believes that it can help strengthen this effort by building bridges with communities abroad; its underlying objective is connecting Pakistan's emerging civil society with individuals overseas who are motivated to make an impact.

Beyond serving as a facilitator, Impak seeks to bridge cultural gaps, promote understanding and give individuals an opportunity to experience first-hand the real potential of Pakistan. Individuals participate in an intellectual and cultural exchange that is the first step on the path towards progress and understanding.

For more information, please visit our website at

Friday, January 20, 2006

Introduction to RSPN and RSPs

I was requested to provide information on my organization and the work we are doing in the earthquake affected areas. I hoep the summary below suffices. Feel free to contact me for any other information. This is related to the CGI Appeal.

RSP Background

The Rural Support Programmes Network ( is a network of ten non-governmental rural development agencies in Pakistan. The RSPs operate in all four provinces, Azad Kashmir and the Northern Areas of Pakistan. The RSPs have mobilised over a million women and men, who have themselves formed Community Organisations (COs) to manage their own development. RSP benefits through multi-sector programmes are to over five million people.

The National Rural Support Programme ( and the Sarhad Rural Support Programme ( had long-term development programmes in seven of the eight worst-hit districts prior to the earthquake. Their programmes covered an estimated 89,000 families (over 500,000 people).

All RSP activities, including those in disaster areas, work from the foundation of ‘social mobilisation’. This begins with community members defining their own needs and priorities, and extends to their involvement in every stage of a project. In the present scenario, Social Organisers and RSP management work as an interface between mobilised communities, local governments, the army, and national and international agencies and NGOs in activities related to advocacy (for example, in receiving goods and services to which people are entitled) on behalf of the economically-marginal and vulnerable.

NRSP responded to the emergency by sending medical aid (doctors, paramedics and medicines), food, water and emergency shelter to its programme area in AJK in the days immediately following the quake. NRSP’s relief efforts have been driven by the desire of most people to stay close to their families and communities, homes and assets. As the scale of the devastation became clear, a procurement and distribution system was established, with goods flowing from a central warehouse close to Islamabad, through a Base Camp in each District (3 in all), and 20 Distribution Points close to the worst-affected villages.

NRSP has extended existing partnerships (e.g., with UNDP, the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Programme, UNICEF, the ILO, WFP) and worked with new partners (the UK-based ‘Shelter Box’ and the Turkish ‘Support to Life, WFP, for example), to deliver relief goods.

In order to help people earn a living and to restore some degree of normalcy, NRSP has set up a training centre in Bagh. Men are learning to be carpenters, masons and women are learning tailoring skills. New training courses will be added as needs emerge.

SRSP is in a position to facilitate national and international relief agencies with little knowledge about the area. Most significantly Tareen Farms, Care International, World Vision, Mercy Corps, Relief International, Hidaya Foundation and a team of doctors from Singapore utilized the SRSP outreach during the relief operation. SRSP took the lead in establishing and managing 90 tent villages, each with 15-20 families, in Mansehra, Battagram and Abbottabad.

Residents of the tent villages are given temporary shelter, bedding and clothing, food, medical care, water and sanitation through the assistance of different donors. Through the DFID-funded Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS) Project, SRSP now intends to cover 100 water supply and 100 sanitation schemes in the affected areas, as well as sanitation facilities in camps.

SRSP has also prepared a “permanent winter shelter” model, which will act as a substitute for damaged houses. 40 of these have been erected in the small villages in Andrasi of Mansehra. A detailed writeup may be requested from Zohare at RSPN.

Both RSPs have established cash for work projects.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Emergency Appeal


This is an emergency appeal for donations towards the purchase of Corrugated Galvanized Iron Sheets, commonly known as CGI sheets. These are metal sheets used as roofs in the earthquake affected areas.

If you have seen any photographs of the affected areas, you will notice that the roofs are generally made of a curvy shaped tin top, that is a CGI sheet. It usually takes about 8-10 to make a complete roof, housing about 7-10 people.

The cost of one CGI sheet is approximately $16-18 dollars per sheet (970-1100)

The specifications are:

Each sheet will be 10 ft X 34 inches
24 gauge
.55 MM thickness

The cost in the open market is:
Rs. 70,000 / ton
72 Sheets / ton

Any amount of donations submitted will be used for purchasing CGI sheets. You can use the donation link along the right menu area, below the archives section to donate using PayPal.

We desperately need your help! Please remember that the winter is worse than we anticipated and it is progressively getting more difficult to help on our own, we urge you to donate!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Pakistan hit by 'mild' earthquake (5.1)

A moderate earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale has struck northern Pakistan, the meteorological department officals say. But there has been no immediate reports of damage or casualities, they say. The epicentre of the quake is said to be 200km (125 miles) north-east of Peshawar, the capital of the North West Frontier Province.

The earthquake struck at 1049 (0549 GMT) and was felt in several cities including the capital, Islamabad, as well as parts of Pakistan-administered Kashmir which was badly hit in October. The region has been hit by more than 1,500 aftershocks following the recent earthquake.

Source: BBC News

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Remembrance Week - 26th December, 2005 - 1st January, 2006

WWH Remembrance WeekLast year, on the 26th December, an earthquake, and then a tsunami, killed, wounded, or impoverished hundreds of thousands of people in South Asia.

During the course of the year, other disasters took their toll too. Most devastating of them: Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the South-East coast of the USA; and another enormous earthquake near Pakistan's border with India.

These disasters took their immediate toll, and, each time, the world tried to help. But as calamity piled upon calamity, there has been a certain amount of fatigue. Perhaps people's stock of goodwill has run low. Perhaps seeing too much suffering hardens us.

But, the fact is, the suffering from those disasters has not ceased. Parts of South Asia have still not recovered from December 26th, 2004. In the USA, normalcy hasn't returned to New Orleans. In Pakistan, thousands are still homeless, and may not survive the harsh Himalayan winter.

They need your help.

Last December and this January, the online community came together as never before to help in the aid efforts in South-East Asia. The lessons learned there were put to use, and improved upon, when the other tragic events of the year unfolded.

Can we harness that goodwill, that togetherness, that willingness to help once more?

The WorldWideHelp group would like you to join us in Remembrance Week. Here's what we suggest you do.

WWH Remembrance WeekUse your blogs, your home pages, your wikis, your newsletters. Link to your favourite charities and NGOs, write a paragraph about them and the work they are doing, and ask your readers to make a donation. (If you'd like to find some more charities and NGOs, please take a look at this page on our TsunamiHelp wiki, this one on our KatrinaHelp wiki, or this one on our QuakeHelp wiki.)

Please link back to this page to help pass the word. You can use the image above.

Please use this Technorati Tag: .
Here's the code:
<a href="" rel="tag">Disaster Remembrance Week</a>

In this post, we have a few more banners and buttons, with intructions on the code you must post to use them.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Oxfam Auction for Victims

Many celebrities sat for photos with Greg Williams to help Oxfam International’s "Make Trade Fair," an awareness campaign to end unfair international trade practices. Now Oxfam America is auctioning these autographed, one of a kind, pieces of art – in order to help victims of Katrina and Pakistan’s earthquake. In an eBay auction starting December 21 and ending 3 p.m. December 31, Oxfam America will be auctioning framed, autographed posters of Chris Martin, Colin Firth, Minnie Driver, and Djimon Hounsou. All the money raised from this auction will help Katrina victims and hundreds of thousand of displaced Pakistanis who now face a brutal winter.

You can place your bids here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Relief group calls for help to Pakistan quake survivors

With thousands of earthquake survivors facing severe winter in the mountainous regions of northern Pakistan, the head of Oxfam GB has warned that help must arrive soon to prevent a second humanitarian catastrophe. Oxfam is the UK branch of an emergency relief organization. Oxfam International is supervising the charity's earthquake response operations in Pakistan. Oxfam has called for the United Nations to be given more resources in order to co-ordinate and bolster the relief effort. The UN is trying to scale up its operations but is hindered by lack of funding, it said.

According to an Oxfam press release, the UN has received less than half of the money it requested for its initial response to the October earthquake, while many pledges for the second phase ofreconstruction have similarly failed to materialize. Of the 551 million US dollars requested for the UN emergency appeal, it said, less than 230 million dollars has reached the UN. Additionally, whereas 1.1 billion dollars was promised for Pakistan's reconstruction efforts, less than 800 million dollars has materialized. Many of these pledges were in any case loans rather than grants. Oxfam has urged donor governments to match the generosity of public donations. With winter bringing freezing temperatures, thousands may soon die unless resources for better shelter and improved camp management arrives quickly. Read More....

Source: Xinhua

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A Menu for Hope II

Pim Techamuanvivit, fellow contributor to the SEA-EAT blog, and well-known food blogger, presents a way for you to help the survivors of the Kashmir quake. Donate US$5 at her A Menu for Hope II page at Firstgiving, and you could win any of the great stuff she has listed here.

Funds collected via A Menu for Hope II go straight to UNICEF. The tote board stands at US$4,438 as of this time, and will stay open until December 24th. Prizes will be announced January 1st, 2006.

Wonderful idea, Pim.

The "donate" link once more: A Menu for Hope II -

Do pass this on, please.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Eid-ul-Adha is few weeks away..donate.

Appeal to muslims:

Eid-ul-adha(the Festival of Sacrifice) is just few weeks away and we should plan early and donate sheep, cow or whatever you are planning to slaughter's money to earth quake victims. Average animal cost around $100 (RS 6000) and if every muslim share the same thought we can build new homes for victims.

Please donate to whatever agency you prefer, In my opinion Edhi Foundation is doing best job for couple of decades and we should make edhi more strong by donating as much as possible.

During my visit to edhi home in Islamabad last month. I was surprise to see Edhi working himself and arranging all the clothes sent by people.

Happy Hajj & Eid-ul Adha to all muslim brother and sister.

Imran Hashmi

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

MSF Choppers Available for NGOs!

MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières) Holland has offered the humanitarian community access to its two Muzaffarabad based A350 ‘Squirrel’ helicopters. Requests can be made by NGOs, to conduct assessment flights in the affected area and for transport of personnel. However, agencies should note that the ‘Squirrels’ have a limited cargo capacity of approximately 350kg.

Any NGO or aid agency wishing to avail themselves of this offer may contact the MSF Holland logistics team on 0300 852 6616 or via e-mail: msfh-abbottabad at, to obtain further details.

Source: UNJLC Team (Pakistan)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Road and Air Transportation Updates from UNJLC

Roads' Network Status: The deteriorating weather conditions are now a major source of concern to all parties participating in the relief effort. UNJLC, in conjunction with various partners, including UN DSS and WFP, will provide regular updates on the conditions of the key humanitarian road corridors over the coming weeks and months.

UNJLC Muzaffarabad will act as a focal point to provide regular updates on road conditions and welcomes inputs from all operational partners. NGOs operating in the Muzaffarabad area can obtain road assessment forms either from the UNJLC team based at the UN compound or by contacting 0300 856 0168 or 0300 856 5968 for further details. UNJLC is also conducting other assessments in the area, including a fuel survey. The UNJLC Muzaffarabad team also encourages all humanitarian agencies operating in the district to attend the logistics cluster meeting scheduled for 19:00 on Tuesdays in the UN compound.

UNJLC is also investigating the potential use of assets such as the NATO/Luxembourg MD-900 helicopters to conduct rapid verification missions, subject to its availability. The key to the success of monitoring the road network will be the acquisition of information from all parties on the ground. UNJLC encourages all NGOs to submit road reports to either their local UNJLC field coordination team or to provide information via SMS to 0300 856 4252 or by e-mail to:

Nato Air Bridge Status: UNJLC claims that, contrary to reports from some sources, the NATO air bridge has not closed. The military aircrafts operating principally out of Incirlik, Turkey, have been stood down, but remain subject to recall if necessary. In addition,
civilian charter flights continue to be arranged, as funds permit. So whilst the intensity of the operation has reduced, NATO will still consider validated requests for the transportation of high priority relief cargo. UN agencies and NGOs wishing to avail themselves of this offer should contact the UNJLC Civil Military Coordination unit in Islamabad on 0300 856 0164.

Source: Bulletin#21 - UNJLC (Pakistan)

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Igloos could save lives

From a reader (edited):

140,000 people are stranded above the snowline in the Pakistani Himalayan Mountains without access to shelter and 2.7 million are without shelter. Snow may fall anytime and trap hundreds of thousands who will freeze to death.
Aid workers say that the first significant snow of the winter is [will expose] millions of homeless people to the threat of hunger and hypothermia.

Here is a true Innovative Emergency Shelter for Quake Survivors. It has been time-tested in frigid winters, costs nothing to build, and the recipe can be quickly given to a million or more people at a time.

Igloos of snow cost nothing and would give every family a cozy and relatively warm, sturdy place to live immediately and are practical for extreme conditions.

The igloo floors could be laid from concrete and stone debris and would act to store the tiny inside fire's heat to warm the freezing nights. These Inuit and Eskimo traditional techniques would definitely work well and would risk no one's life from heavy building materials falling due to hasty construction by first-time builders.
I propose that millions of simple lightweight instructional leaflets be printed immediately in native languages with drawings from the websites listed below. The leaflets and other bundles can be airdropped over survivor's camps for access to ancient forgotten tribal techniques of living in frigid snowy climes. Your bilingual workers would need to translate the package of instructions for igloo building technology.

Please look up the following web sites for pictures and descriptions of how to build igloos:


"After the key block has been inserted the hut is tightly sealed and a lamp is kindled inside. The heated air, having no exit, begins to melt the face of the snow blocks, which rapidly congreals again on admission of cold air from the outside. Ths each snow block is firmly cemented in place and converted to ice on its inner face. Occupation for a few days then gradually changes the interiors of the blocks, so that the structure is no longer a snow house but a house of ice. The transformation gives it remarkable stability; a man can stand on the summit without causing collapse, and half the house can be destroyed without destroying the other half. Consequently by building a series of intersecting domes and omitting or opening up the common egments, an Eskimo can enlarge a small circular hut capable of housing only 1 or 2 families into a community dwelling of 3, 4 or 5 rooms that will house 15 or 20 people."

" would take their snow knife and go to their prepared snow field. Once there, starting from the edge they start cutting snow blocks. The packed snow had hardened from the combination of stomp packing and freezing.

Since smaller helicopters can only carry about 165 lbs. in the thin air of the Himalayas, larger military planes would be needed to drop these supplies. I recommend water cans, water purification tablets, dried foodstuffs, long barbecue lighters and machetes (as snow knives) to cut snow blocks. Waste wooden building materials could be split with the machete also and used to produce heat inside the igloos. Also sheets, woolen and space blankets would be vital as the temperature would be about 33 degrees inside the igloo.

James D. Peck
Please respond with e-mail or call me at (1)(978)546-5217 to let me know how the plan worked out if you move forward with it. I will try to be available if you have questions.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Tremors felt at Drosh, Chitral

An earthquake of mild intensity measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale hit Chitral Thursday on Dec 01, 2005. According to preliminary analysis of Meteorological Station Peshawar, the earthquake originated at 1223 hours and its epicentre was about 300 kilometres north of Peshawar in the Hindukush Range. The quake was also felt at Drosh and other adjoining areas. No casualties were reported.

Source: DAWN

Hundreds of Pneumonia Cases Reported in Affected Areas

Health officials in Pakistan have said that hundreds of people, most of them children, had contracted pneumonia in the earthquake-stricken areas of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.A three-member health team has been sent to Darbang and Nariola villages to evaluate the situation and more teams were expected to arrive from Islamabad in a day or two. The health department in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir has urged the federal ministry of health to send reinforcements. Six mobile teams are expected to reach Muzaffarabad by last Wednesday evening.

Pakistan-controlled Kashmir received its first harsh winter weather at the weekend with up to 8 inches of snowfall at high altitudes and up to 1.2 inches (32 mm) of rain in lower areas. Relief operations resumed on Monday after the weather cleared and continued on Tuesday, but the weather conditions remain cold in the area.

Source: AKI

Fresh quake jolts Pakistan

A moderate earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale jolted northwestern Pakistan early yesterday but there were no reports of casualties. With winter starting to set in, the the focus of the relief effort was shifting towards food as Aid officials fear sickness sweeping through a cold and poorly nourished population will cause a second wave of deaths.

Source: Gulf Daily News

Baby becomes first quake survivor to die of cold

The thing we all feared is starting to happen, with the cold of the Himalyan winter hitting the survivors of the quake.

From The New Zealand Herald

Baby becomes first quake survivor to die of cold

A three-month-old baby has become the first Pakistan earthquake survivor to die of the cold as thousands more face the onset of winter without shelter.

Waqar Mukhtar died hours after he was admitted to hospital in Kashmir with pneumonia.

Relief workers are warning that unless more aid reaches the affected area fast, his may be the first in a new wave of deaths from the earthquake.

Waqar was among the hundreds of thousands of earthquake survivors who live in villages on the high mountainsides of Kashmir and neighbouring North-West Frontier Province - mountains where the first snow has just begun to arrive.

He was rushed down the mountainside to hospital in the city of Muzzaffarabad as soon as he fell sick, but it was too late.

In many villages, the survivors are still without adequate shelter, despite desperate pleas from the United Nations and the Pakistani government for more international aid.

Many live under makeshift tents made out of plastic sheeting, or crude shelters they have hammered together from planks and bits of corrugated iron roofing they have salvaged from the ruins of their homes.

Doctors have warned that it is the children who are at gravest risk from the cold without proper shelter.

In many villages, there is only enough room in the tents for the women and youngest children.

Men and boys as young as 14 sleep outside.

Read the full story. Link via Indian Writing.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Kashmir Update by ADEPT: Is this the Beginning of the New Disaster?

(ADEPT's International climbing team is ready awaiting permission from the government to move in)

Quake affected Kashmir experienced the seasons first heavy snowfall since yesterday. The upper reaches of the Kashmir valley, in India, experienced a fresh spell of snowfall, resulting in considerable drop in temperatures. Border areas of Karnah, in Baramulla district, recorded about two and a half feet of snowfall, leading to road block. Gurez, one of the worst affected areas in the earthquake, and Sadhna Top in Kupwara also had six inches of snowfall each. The Baramulla town experienced light snowfall followed by rains, which disrupted normal life. The Sriangar-Leh national highway has been officially closed down for the six winter months. All traffic personnel deployed on the highway have been withdrawn. Official sources warned that anybody still plying their vehicles on the highway will be doing at their own risk. There is risk of landslies due to the rains. Helicopters have been grounded.

With no written titles to property in the area, and with considerable risk of property being stolen, villagers prefer to stay put and brave the winter exposure. Many temporary shelters in the area are enmarshed in the mud created by rain. Sanitary conditions are worse than ever.

The first deaths of an infant and an old man, due to exposure, were reported yesterday from Pakistan. While relief oganisations are building shelters as fast as they can, with heavy rains and a fresh blanket of snow, it isn’t fast enough for those who have been living rough since the Oct. 8 earthquake. A large number of tents and tin sheets purchased and stockpiled for the purpose of providing shelter, have yet to be delivered, with weather conditions worsening every day. ADEPT's partner, the Catholic Relief Services, have completed about 28% of planned distribution of tin sheets. Further bad weather ahead will leave villagers in the isolated mountains without food, shelter or other aid. Those already suffering from respiratory infection are at risk for Pneumonia. Children and the elderly risk hypothermia.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Paper work sucks

Once again I managed to stay M.I.A. for sometime.

Getting involved in the NGO world is not always what one might perceive it to be. Unfortunately, there is a lot of catching up to do before getting thrown into the field. It's funny that I always thought that field work was not something I was meant to ever do. Some part of me still agrees with that, but the majority of me is very content.

Officially, I have only made a couple trips up north -- one with a donor and one to do distribution monitoring in Bagh.

Since many of you may still not know what exactly it is that I do, I am a project manager for two earthquake related projects, being implemented in Bagh, Mansehra and Battagram.

One project, with CARE International, is just distribution of emergency relief provisions to some 2000 identified households in Battagram, Mansehra and Bagh. This is just giving them preassembled CARE packages of basic household needs (including tents) to get people on their feet with rebuilding their lives.

The other, the bigger one, is a housing project for people in the same districts (in NWFP and AJK). We have yet to commence that as the project was recently approved. This one is with Department for International Development.

The last couple of weeks have been spent mainly catching up with whats going on, getting information and being buried in tons of paperwork and contractual agreements, etc.

This is definately a great start to a wonderful and very rewarding career. I hope that things materialize faster for the needy than they are right now because, well...we don't want there to be no one left to save by snowfall...that would be very upsetting and careless.

I will be rather infrequent about my posts for some time, at least until I get my shit together because work between the office and the field keeps me away from luxury and citizen reporting very often.

Cross-posted on Shake the Quake

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

IR Projects

Islamic Relief is working on a few projects in Kashmir, details below:

Opening Roads

Islamic Relief has hired 20 large earthmoving vehicles for two months to clear landslides and open roads to areas that need aid.


In agreement with the World Food Programme, IR is distributing food to 180,000 people in Muzaffarabad, Bagh, Rawalakot, and Neelum valley. The project is planned to last for six months.

Islamic Relief is supporting International Health Partners (IHP) deliver medical aid worth £2,000,000 in Kashmir.

IR has initiated a project to supply 10,000 families with winter tents and non-food items in 45 days.

Warm clothing is being provided to 25,000 survivors of the quake in four districts of Kashmir.

Clean Water

A project aimed at providing access to clean water for 2,000 families has begun. IR staff are also installing 500 latrines.


An aid flight paid charted by the UK government arrived in Islamabad with 60 tonnes of aid. The cargo included tents, blankets, water sterilisers and X-Ray machines.

IR Belgium has shipped a 40 foot container of aid worth €25,000 to Pakistan.

The Rotary Club has made a donation to IR Pakistan of 100 pallets of winterised tents and 90 pallets of sleeping bags.

An aid flight left Gatwick airport on 11 November with 50,000 kg of aid. The consignment included winterised tents, bottled water, blankets and water sterilisers.

IR's USA office is sending a 747 cargo plane to Pakistan with aid worth over $2.6 million.

An Islamic Relief donor in Panama has organised a 20 foot container of blankets.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has delivered blankets, pillows and mattresses to IR staff in Kashmir for distribution. The aid will be distributed in Muzaffarabad, Bagh, Dhirkot and Rawalakot.

Source: Islamic Relief

Monday, November 21, 2005

North Face & K.E.R. Nationwide Gear Drop for Quake Victims

Following note comes from the team at Kashmir Earthquake Relief:

There's a North Face/K.E.R nationwide Gear Drop to benefit victims of the October 8, 2005 earthquake in Kashmir from Nov. 18-23. The quake killed more than 87,000 people and left more than 3 million people homeless. Now, a deadly Himalayan winter is fast approaching. The UN was warned that more than 500,000 more people could die from cold and starvation in Kashmir.

The Gear Drop is an opportunity for people to help at the local level across the USA to respond to the approaching threat of a second wave of tragic deaths. This specific effort will direct aid to the most at-risk communities in the quake-hit region of Kashmir. This area can only be reached by traversing over a snowbound 12,500 foot Himalayan Mountain pass.

National collection of tents, sleeping bags, bags, jackets and work gloves to be delivered to Kashmir earthquake victims. You can donate gear or purchase special donation discounted new gear for the quake victims. For all details and donation locations go here. To see a Flash presentation about this human tragedy or to learn more K.E.R. about go here. THIS IS A PREVENTABLE DISASTER - IF WE ACT NOW. So please donate and spread the word. Help us get aid to the victims!

15 % Damage to Pakistani Nuclear Facilities in Quake

Hours after the quake in Pakistan, we had many emails from readers voicing their concern about the safety of Pakistan's Kahuta Nuclear Facility which was just 100km away from the quake's epicentre. The following report has been double-checked by various sources and it has been confirmed that there has been damage to the N-Facilities in affected areas:

There is fifteen to twenty per cent damage to Pakistani nuclear facilities and storage sites in the Northern Areas, especially in Skardu and Chitral, and the local population faces the risk of contamination, but a curfew has been imposed, and they are being actively prevented by the authorities from leaving the area. Because of the serious damage to the nuclear facilities in the Northern Areas, the Pakistan government has turned away international relief teams, prevented Indian Army relief work and Indian Air Force supply drops, and withdrawn the consent for Israeli assistance, fearing that Mossad agents would be infiltrated who would destroy the atomic establishments.

While Western sources did not say that reactors had been damaged in the 8 October earthquake, they confirmed that missile silos had developed cracks, and storage facilities had taken a hit, and since the epicentre is likely to be seismically active for another two years, they expressed fear of further collapse of the nuclear establishments. To prevent leak of this massive nuclear destruction, Pakistan both bottled up the local population by imposing curfew, and did not permit international inspection of the disaster-hit areas.

Source: NewsInsight

Mild quake shakes Maharashtra, no damages

An earthquake of slight intensity rocked western Maharashtra in the intervening night of Sunday and Monday. No damages to property or life were reported. The quake, measuring 4.0 on the Richter scale, occurred in Satara district, 200 km southeast of Mumbai at 12.20 am on Monday.

"It was an earthquake of slight intensity and the epicentre lied on latitude 17.3 degrees and longitude 73.8 degrees," said CVV Bhadram, deputy director general, Regional Meteorological Centre, Mumbai.

Source: HT

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Jeeps for Relief Efforts Available On Request by NGOs

UNOPS (United Nations Office for Project Services) is providing approximately 100 Russian made jeeps for use by humanitarian agencies involved in the relief effort. The jeeps were previously used in the recent Afghan election and have been over-hauled prior to delivery in Pakistan. They are well suited to rough mountain roads and are mechanically easy to maintain.

The basic specifications include; 7 seats (including 2 jumpseats), left side driver seat, petrol engine and roof rack. UNOPS is levying a cost recovery charge of $4000 dollars per jeep to transfer ownership to the requesting agency. The jeeps can be procured through UNJLC (United Nations Joint Logistics Center) and request forms can be downloaded from here- completed request forms should be sent to pakjeeps[at] or submitted to the UNJLC office in Islamabad. Given the limited availability, priority will be given to those agencies requesting jeeps for use in field operations outside of Islamabad.

Source: UNJLC Pakistan Bulletin#14

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Beyond Borders - A Joint Indo-Pak Fundraiser for Earthquake Relief

"Beyond Borders" is a benefit for survivors for the south asian earthquake that is being organized by the FOSA (Friends Of South Asia). This event is scheduled to be held on Sat, Nov 19, 7pm - at Berkeley (in the San Francisco Bay Area). 100% of the proceeds will go towards grassroots earthquake relief efforts in Pakistan and India.

The event is unique in the sense that it is being organized by a coalition of a wide array of organizations, including Indian and Pakistani orgs (and other groups of the South Asian diaspora), as well as university departments, student groups, cultural groups, small businesses, and so on - who have all come together to show solidarity towards earthquake survivors on both sides of the border and work together for this important and urgent cause.

More information regarding feature artists, tickets, etc. can be found at the FOSA site here.

Source: Ramkumar from the Organizing Committee for Beyond Borders at FOSA

Friday, November 11, 2005

EarthQuake Report

I just got back to Karachi after spending two weeks filming in Balakot.

Balakot is a small town in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, about 60 miles north of Islamabad. Located near the quake’s epicenter, it is said to be among the worst devastated.

We visited a few small villages up in the mountains around Balakot, and everywhere we went it was the same story. The people in these areas depend on subsistence farming and their livestock for survival. A large number of the livestock has been killed, and the remaining is without any sort of shelter.

Many people too are still without tents. Some have provided makeshift shelters for their animals under cloth or plastic sheets. They urgently require proper shelter both for themselves and their livestock. Without shelter their livestock will not survive the harsh winter and many will lose their only source of income. The animals also require veterinary care to prevent malnutrition and disease outbreaks.

Although tent villages have been established in the towns, the majority are not willing to leave their land and livestock behind to move to these camps.

At this time of the year, the yearly migration of people and their animals is also taking place from the mountains to the plains. On the main road from Kaghan/Naran to Mansera, we saw many families on the move; some due to the earthquake. An average herd would consist of a few donkeys, cows, buffaloes, goats, sheep and a dog or two. Baby goats and lambs born on the move are often carried on donkey’s backs, or carried by the people in their arms. Pregnant animals get no rest, neither are they able to receive any veterinary care along the way. It is survival of the fittest for all.

At night also they are on the move in the pitch dark. Sometimes they stop by the side of the highway for a little rest. If they are near a town, they burn the discarded relief clothes by the roadside for warmth. Shepherds often collect the sweaters and shirts and put them on their goats. A lot of the goats we saw were constantly coughing. According to the shepherds, they tend to die soon after. These people too are facing a crisis as the price of their animals has fallen drastically, and they do not know how they will survive.

The international animal welfare community needs to be urgently mobilized to provide assistance to the animals in the affected areas. Apart from WSPA ( and the Brooke Hospital for Animals (, there are no other animal welfare organizations that I am aware of who are providing disaster relief to the animals.

Food is available for both people and animals in most places. Providing shelter for all ought to be a priority at this point.

We need to take action now before the severe winter weather sets in by the end of November. Already, it has started snowing in some areas. What is needed is an urgent assessment of the affected areas, and community shelters for the livestock in villages up in the mountains. More mobile veterinary teams need to be sent out to the remote villages, and most importantly, the local Pakistani veterinary community needs to be encouraged to play their role in the disaster relief efforts.

We hope you can help in sending out alerts to the international community to take action before it’s too late.

Mahera Omar

For more information, please take a look at these websites:

Frontiers is looking for delivery teams for Pakistan (US-Based)

The following from Bob Blincoe, US Director of Frontiers:

This is an incredible opportunity and a desperate need. They need men there, NOW, to get into the valleys where all the houses have been destroyed, and where until now no relief people have showed up. They have portable shelters to set up. This shelter is amazing, far superior to tents. The shelter will last through the winter. And the materials can be re-used to help build permanent homes in the spring.

Volunteers will work in teams of two to four, with an interpreter, for 2-6 weeks. They will travel in small trucks into the valleys to assemble the shelters. The clever design of the shelters means that they can be assembled in a short length of time. This rescue will change the lives of all who can come and help the survivors.

Please Respond by going to Frontiers website,, or email or call 480 834-1500 or 800 462-8436 and they will send you an earthquake-response team application which they will expedite as quickly as possible. (Tentative date of departure from teh US into Pakistan has been set for November 28th)

Huge number of toilets urgently needed in quake-hit north

An acute lack of latrines in quake-affected areas of northern Pakistan, where millions of survivors live under dire sanitary conditions, will undermine health and could lead to serious disease outbreaks unless immediate action is taken, aid workers warn.

"We need to build about 200,000 toilets," Andrew MacLeod, head of the UN Emergency Coordination Centre, told IRIN in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.

Although to date UNICEF, its partners and other organisations have installed over 600 toilets in the Muzaffarabad area at various camps and health centres, that number remains a small fraction of what actually is needed. Time, however, is quickly running out, with reports of acute diarrhoea cases already appearing. On Wednesday, the United Nations reported serious outbreaks of acute watery diarrhoea in Muzaffarabad and other devastated areas, underscoring the need to scale up efforts to provide safe water and sanitation in the self-settled camps. Read More ....

Source: AlertNet

URGENT: Volunteers Needed in Neelum Valley & Balakot

Volunteers who want to work in Neelum Valley should contact Amir Ahmed khan. There is a lot of rescue work to be done up there. This rescue effort is also being followed by a BBC team and will be aired regularly. Amir's cell phone no is 0333-2202999. Call him. He is really looking for a lot of volunteers with trekking experience. I also need volunteers in Balakot and Ghanool Valley who can work in Tent Villages in any and every capacity. Volunteers who can teach kids, female volunteers who can work with children and females from health to education. Camp managers, trash cleaners, helping hands who can work with the army etc. Get in touch with Wajahat Malik at 0333-5109492. Please pass the word around.

Source: Wajahat Malik via Lahore MetBlogs

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Out with the Private, In with the NGO

I am officially now out of the private employment service. Because of the impact this quake has had on me, and the circumstances otherwise, I have decided to avail an opportunity to work with an NGO, heading a project for Relief and Rehabilitation in NWFP and AJK.

I gave in my resignation today and will be starting work with the NGO (RSPN) on Monday Nov 14.

I will now be officially doing whatever I have done and what I will continue to do so. I hope that I can do a good job helping people regain their lives, rekindle the sparkle of life in their eyes and give them a promise that our generation will not fail Kashmir. When we say we want what is best for Kashmir, we will mean it for the people, not the land.

I know there will be difficulties and obstacles, but without them you cannot appreciate the achievements and milestones during this time of need.