http://worldwidehelp.blogspot.com

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 All traffic personnel deployed on the highway have been withdrawn.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.

Ciao
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.

Distributions


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.

Donations


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]gmail.com 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 (wspa.org.uk) and the Brooke Hospital for Animals (www.thebrooke.org), 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.

Regards,
Mahera Omar
www.pawspakistan.org

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, www.frontiers.org, or email Jaime.wood@gracetogo.org 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.

Relief Shelter Drive appeal

Via email from Iceknife

"… in Kashmir … people [will] freeze to death if they don't get assistance in weeks"
Jan Egeland, UN Humanitarian Chief
November 8, 2005


Today, November 8, 2005 marks the one-month anniversary of the earthquake that hit South Asia on October 8, 2005. You've given and given.

But:

In the next two weeks, heavy snowfall will start blocking supply routes of relief goods to the earthquake-affected regions. In the next two weeks, 350,000 people may still sleep under the open sky, awaiting any type of accommodation. In the next two weeks, 10,000 children will face death.

Despite the UN's flash appeal for $550 million, only $133 million worth of pledges and donations have been made – less than 25% of the actual requirement.

It's a race against time – but your timely donation as an individual can help provide shelter and save lives.

Donate to Relief Shelter Drive, a grassroots initiative undertaken by a small group of individuals across the United States, United Kingdom and Pakistan. RSD has partnered with the Association for the Development of Pakistan (ADP) in the United States and EHD Foundation in Pakistan to receive funds to provide desperately needed shelter to the earthquake survivors. We aim to reach areas where the government and major relief organization have still not reached.

You can now make your online contributions (tax-deductible for those in the US) at: http://www.developpakistan.org/Default.aspx?tabid=146

Please forward widely. If you can not donate yourself, please find friends, neighbors or colleagues who may be able to do so. Every act can help save lives.

Sincerely yours,
Sarah

Sarah Karim
Relief Shelter Drive Team Member
Karachi, Pakistan
http://tentdrive.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Second Kashmir border point open

India and Pakistan have opened a second crossing on the de facto border in the disputed region of Kashmir to help victims of last month's earthquake. The crossing at Kaman Post in Uri was opened to help movement of relief supplies to the affected areas in Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

Civilians are not being allowed to cross the Line of Control (LoC). The two countries have struck a deal to open five points along the heavily militarised LoC to help quake victims. The first crossing on the de facto border was opened on Monday. Read More ....


Source: BBC News

Pakistan quake toll rises to 86,000

The death toll from the Oct 8 earthquake in Pakistan has reached 86,000, while about 100,000 people have been injured and more than 3.5 million people affected, a draft report by international donor agencies said. The damage assessment report was discussed in Islamabad on Monday at a meeting presided over by Salman Shah, adviser to the prime minister on finance and revenue, said local press reports on Tuesday.

The joint assessment teams of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have also estimated that devastation in Pakistan-administered Kashmir was much more than in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). A total of 7,197 educational institutions were destroyed and about 3,837-km roads damaged in both areas.


Source: TOI

Aussie troops to help quake victims

Australian troops will begin heading to Pakistan on Thursday to provide medical aid to earthquake victims before the start of a harsh winter which could push the death toll beyond 86,000. The first phase of the three-month mission, announced by Prime Minister John Howard on Wednesday, will begin leaving Sydney airport on Thursday.Troops taking part in the humanitarian mission will not be armed during their time in the dangerous border region and will instead be protected by Pakistani soldiers.

Apart from the troops, Australia will also send four Blackhawk helicopters to provide medical help in remote regions. Defence Minister Robert Hill said the medical team would include a command element, aviation detachment, as well as logistics and communication personnel. The RAAF will make its initial airlift to a base at Dhanni, 20km north east of the Pakistani city of Muzzaffarabad. Senator Hill said a central medical facility would be established at Dhanni and supplemented by mobile medical teams.


Source: Australian Associated Press

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Facts,pricing and more about CGI Sheets

  • I wanted to share information about CGI sheets. Its better than tents and people can move to permanent homes rather than tent. Here are few facts about CGI Sheets. I got this information from City sadder road Rawalpindi after spent a day to buy 4 ton of CGI sheets.
  • Best bargain is buy sheet by weight and not by dimension.
  • Sheet should not be more than 10 feet length unless you have requirement.
  • Maximum length is 16 feet. but expert believe 10 feet will have more strength.
  • Width is 3.5 feet and after carogation its 3 feet.
  • 27 gauge sheet is suitable and more you come down better it is; mean 26 is better than 27.
  • 28 gauge and above are very thin sheet; expert in the sheet market says they don't last too long and less strength to hold.
  • Also be very cautious about when they weight ready sheet, they put extra weight which is very hard to detect; use digital weighing machine and check machine with standard weight before putting sheets.
  • Never give them full money until they load into your truck and then clear remain balance.

I bought four ton with family fund to denote to Rawalakot. Price I paid was Rs 59.50/Kilo ($1US) (very good deal). Trader in the market are asking 67 to 70 per kilo. Please call me if you have any questions at 0300 856 8418

Some facts about weights:

  • 1 Ton = 1000 kilo grams.
  • 4 Ton = 4000 kilo grams.
  • 4000 * 59.50 = RS238,000
  • Price for 1 Ton= Rs 59500 or $1000 USD
  • Price for 4 Ton = Rs 238,000 or $4000 dollars

Imran Hashmi

+92300856-8418

Canada 1-416 628 9101

http://www.hashmi.ca/

SMS Report #3: The State of Medical Care for Victims

The following SMS report came in from the SMS Quake team (Ejaz ASI via Imran Hashmi):

The patients and survivors of panjgran, sir batna got medical treatment after 18 days. Its just near LOC and we had to walk uphill for 8 hours from shaheed gali, A jk. You would find mobilink signals only at sirikot.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Surgeons & Volunteers Needed for Field Hospitals

Operation Heartbeat:
There is a field hospital up and running in Garhi Dupatta which is utilizing rotating medical and surgical teams. They are in dire need of physicians. These efforts are being coordinated by Dr. Farzad Najam, a cardiac surgeon at the George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, DC. Please contact Dr. Najam at 202-775-8600 or farzadnajam(at)pol.net if you are able to assist by volunteering or with financial donations.

Emergency Relief Hospital in Mansehra:
Dr. Anwaar Khan is a US trained and board certified gastroenterologist who is the Chairman and Dean of the Shaikh Zayed Postgraduate Medical Institute in Lahore, Pakistan, and established the Emergency Relief Hospital in Mansehra, Pakistan, both of which are at the center of the medical relief efforts following the recent earthquake. He stresses the ongoing needs for medical and surgical volunteers for the late presenting patients with infected fractures and other wounds, with specific needs for Neurosurgery (particularly spinal cord injuries), Orthopedic, General, Plastic and Reconstructive surgeons, among other volunteers. Volunteers would most likely be operating out of the city of Islamabad. Some travel to forward areas like Muzafarabad where an American team has set up a small hospital may be possible.

Interested volunteers should contact Dr. Khan directly (cell phone 011 92 300 940 5648 home phone 011-92-42-531-1408, hospital phone 011-92-923-0718 or 011-92-923-0727, email anwaark(at)yahoo.com) for further information. Expedited arrangements may be possible through the Pakistani Minister of Health.


Source: Hope Banda Aceh

Friends of Pakistan Looking for Canvas Wall Tents

This just in via email from Carol Cespedes over at Friends of Pakistan in Austin, Texas (If you can help out or know someone who can, please email Friends of Pakistan, leave a comment or mail us.):

A group of former U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers who served in Pakistan in the 1960's have formed a new association called Friends of Pakistan to raise funds and supplies for earthquake relief. We have all donated to international relief agencies but we want to do more. We understand the shortage of tents and have made arrangements with PIA to ship tents as we are able to collect them. We have access to expedition style tents through REI, but these are generally nylon with a maximum sleeping capacity of 4 and we have doubts about the appropriateness and safety (especially since these do not permit cooking). Now we are searching for a source of canvas wall tents priced under $500. If anyone knows of such a source we will raise funds to buy them. We are also sending new blankets.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Help Needed - Pakistan - Batungi

This just in via email from Shakeel Ahmed (If anyone has more concrete information, please leave a comment or mail us.)

Batungi

This area is some where near "syed pur" and high up on the mountains. I have read in BBC news urdu service about this area.

Some volunteers had been there and about 300 group of people are up there. Many of them are injured, without food, no camp at all. 2 children & a woman got tetanus already. Volunteers are asking for help within 24 hours otherwise people could be start dying. I was trying to look for a email of ptv life line but could not. Pls. do something at the earliest. GOD BLESS YOU & Pakistan.

Shakeel Ahmed
Public Relation Officer
Mott MacDonald Ltd.
Abu Dhabi

Friday, November 04, 2005

New York: Blanket Collection for Earthquake Victims

Dr. Saleem Mir, located at 132 Maple Street ( map ) in New York, is collecting blankets and warm coats for the victims of the recent South Asian earthquake , which has already claimed over 73,000 lives. For more information, please call 914-271-6606.


Source: CrotonBlog

Worldwide Vigil for Kashmir earthquake

On November 8, 2005 it will be the 1 month anniversary of the South Asian earthquake, 20 cities worldwide will hold a vigil to grieve for those who have lost their lives, provide hope for those who have survived but are living in deplorable conditions, and highlight to the world and the media that a lot more needs to be done as time is running out. Please join SAQUAKE.ORG to show your support and attend these events so our individual voices can be one loud message of hope and action. See a list of participating cities below and for full information about vigil locations and contacts please go to www.saquake.org

Participating cities include:

Amsterdam, Netherlands; Arcata, CA; Atlanta, GA; Bay Area, CA; Boston, MA; Canberra, Australia; Chicago, IL; Houston, TX; Indianapolis, IN; Minneapolis, MN; Montreal, Canada; Los Angeles, CA; Olympia, WA; Ottawa, Canada; New York, NY; Seattle, WA; San Diego, CA; Toronto, Canada; Troy, NY; Washington D.C.;

Vigil for the Victims and Survivors of the South Asian Earthquake:
To grieve for lives lost, provide hope to those still struggling to survive, draw the world's attention to the work that still needs to be done : Tuesday, November 8, 2005


Source: SAQuake via Wadias

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Help needed in Saadpur village near Neelum river

From Sajjad Zaidi's blog:

I got this message from Aamir recently which I thought I should pass on. Saadpur village, with about 50-70 homes and a population of 600-900, about 300 of which are children, needs help. It is situated near the Neelum river that I mentioned earlier and is currently inaccessable by road. Someone has to go there physically and find a way to deliver food, tents and medical assistance. With winter coming, we only have a short time to save as many lives as possible so this is urgent.

Eid Mubarak

In the midst of the dust, we should not forget that today the moon has shown itself and that marks the end of the Holy month of Ramzan for the entire Muslim world (give or take a day or two) so I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of my readers and those who have really broken their backs trying to help Pakistan get back on its feet.

EID MUBARAK!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

41 villages have still not been reached

According to an official military statement on Wednesday, forty-one earthquake-hit villages in the North West Frontier Province have not yet been reached since the October 8 earthquake due to their inaccessibility.

“The Pakistan army is providing supplies and relief goods to 41 villages through helicopters which have not physically accessed the villages so far,” it added.

These villages have been identified and troops would reach them within 24 hours, the army hoped. The statement, however, did not identify the villages nor did it give information about how many people were in need of medical treatment. The statement said the army “evacuated all serious casualties” from the areas of the NWFP where the earthquake wrecked havoc on October 8.


Source: Daily Times

Volunteers Needed in Rawalpindi

The following is from an email sent in to us:
We are a group of volunteers who are working in different hospitals of Rawalpindi. Our main aim is to help and serve the patients who are unattended (i.e. have no relatives). There are some security problems where in some cases patients have been kidnapped and molested. So we need volunteers who can assist whenever they have time, preferably in the night.

If you are living in Rawalpindi and are willing to help the earthquake victims then please contact Shahabz at 0301-5049321 and/or Humaira at 0300-5345534.

Blood Donations Needed In Islamabad Today

Blood donations are urgently needed for the earthquake victims, especially negatives. The blood camp is located at Sector H-8 and it has been set up by the Red Crescent Society. Please pass the word around.

All roads in Rawalakot, Bagh reopened

All the roads in Rawalakot and Bagh district have been reopened by the Pakistan Army Engineers. Most of the roads in Muzaffarabad district have also been reopened except for Neelum Valley and some portion of Muzzaffarabad-Chakothi road.

A Balley Bridge was successfully launched by Engineers troops to keep the communication open at Lamnian. A 28 km long road from Lipa to Rashian has also been reopened after an exhaustive ammount of work. Almost 20 km stretch of Gari Dupatta - Pathiali - Panjkot - Nauseri road has been reopened while the nine km of Bagh- Chhattar- Chakoti road out the total 25 km have also been cleared.

The 28 km long Thakot-Banna road has been reopened for all types of traffic. The work for reopening Kaghan-Balakot road continue in full swing. The 35 km long stretch of road has been repaired while the remaining five km will be opened shortly.


Source: GEO TV

Two points along LoC on Indian side will be ready by Nov 4

Two of the five centres along the Line of Control agreed to by India and Pakistan to coordinate the relief efforts to quake victims across divided Kashmir would be ready on the Indian side in a couple of days, a defence spokesman said Wednesday.

He said the two points - Rawalakot-Poonch and Tattapani-Mendhar will be ready from our side at Poonch and Medhar respectively by November four to enable people to ferry relief and reconstruction material for the victims from both sides of Kashmir.

In Mendhar area of Poonch district, the route is almost ready after clearing the mines adjacent Roshini Post facing Khanna Post from Azad Kashmir (AJK), the spokesman said adding some mines are to be cleared near Gulpur area facing Rawalkote in main town of Poonch in the district.


Source: OnlineNewsNet - Pakistan

Billboards as tent covers

In Muzaffarabad, Pakistan, recycled advertising billboards serve as rain covers on the tents of earthquake refugees:




Source: SFGate via PakQuake

How You Can Help Raise Awareness

Open Silicon Valley provides a list ways to get involved. They provide information about how to raise awareness with government, media, corporations and community. Go there and find a way to help.


Source: SouthAsiaEarthquake.org

Death toll in Asian quake jumps to 73,276

Pakistan's official earthquake death toll jumped by 16,000, and officials warned Wednesday that it is likely to rise further as relief supplies fail to reach thousands of victims stranded in remote parts of the Himalayas.

The announcement, which puts the official toll at 73,000, brings the central government figures closer to the number reported by local officials, who say the Oct. 8 quake killed at least 79,000 people in Pakistan. Read More.....


Source: CJAD 800 AM

When Winter Comes

More links and extracts lifted, with permission, from Uma Mahadevan-Dasgupta's Indian Writing

Here is
South Asia Earthquake Fact Sheet No 19, dated 31 October 2005:Close to 3 million homeless. According to Unicef, 17000 children died in the quake. Between 1.6 and 2.2 million children have been affected.
Here is Medicins Sans Frontieres' earthquake relief report
While
the treatment of wounds and fractures appears to be slightly
decreasing, MSF is worried that the health of thousands of homeless and
vulnerable people will deteriorate rapidly due to exposure and food
shortages. MSF teams are distributing winterized tents, blankets and
relief items such as cooking and hygiene kits, but at the moment,
limits on logistical capacity in the difficult mountainous terrain is
insufficient to get enough people adequate shelter before winter hits
in a few weeks time.
Here is an interview with the UN Humanitarian Area Coordinator:
Many
countries still believe that it is a classic natural disaster which in
most instances has two phases. One is search and rescue, the most
intensive first 96 hours after the disaster, then a little bit of
relief and then the second phase - reconstruction and rehabilitation.
Here because of the disaster and the magnitude of that, we see
dramatically increased vulnerability of people, which never happened
before as a result of a natural disaster, at least in recent years.
Nobody remembers this kind of situation...

I think if anyone
wants to deliver a lecture on natural disasters, this quake would be
the best example because everything that could have gone wrong, went
wrong. Any difficulty you can imagine is there. What makes it
especially difficult is the dramatic increase in vulnerability of large
groups of people living in a huge territory with very difficult access
and harsh climatic conditions...

Maybe part of the difficulty is
that the images do not allow you to understand the magnitude. If you
see a couple of villages completely destroyed - and you realise that
each village may have about 500 to 1,000 people - the human brain
probably does not calculate or doesn't multiply it to see the sheer
magnitude of that.

I wanted to tell you that I flew over the
Neelum Valley. I saw with my own eyes, flying sometimes very low and by
stopping. From 90 to 100 percent of housing was destroyed. And in most
instances, if not all, 100 percent of the population does not have
housing at all. Even if a building is still there, then it is
uninhabitable.

Q: With the onset of winter, what are primary concerns at this point?

A: Funding.

Q: What will happen if donors simply don't respond? Will you scale back your activities in any way?

A: Yes. We'll scale down and phase out.
If we haven't already given, please let's give what we can.

Please go here for Unicef's statement, appeal, pictures from the first tent school, and online donation facility.

This Diwali, this Eid, please help save the children.

Why Kashmir isn't getting the attention it needs - an opinion

Why was it that the desolation of coastal fisherfolk in Tamil Nadu had managed to sear through the thick wall of urban indifference, but here in Kashmir, we were still struggling?
Barkha Dutt in Hindustan Times. Read the article here.

[Link courtesy Indian Writing]

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

UNHCR considering leaving

Lack of funds delaying relief operations - At least one United Nations relief agency, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, is considering packing up and leaving if it doesn’t get the $30 million needed to manage relief camps in November.

“The organisation is operating on borrowed money from other relief agencies,” UNHCR Communications Manager Vivan Tan told Daily Times. She said UNHCR had utilised $15 million of the borrowed money and had received only $4 million out of the $30 million required. “We will try and pull through as long as possible, another two to three weeks, but after that we will have no other choice,” she added.

UNHCR is looking after the most vital area of relief, camp management, in earthquake-affected areas. “We see more and more people coming down from the hills for help but there is little we can offer them at the moment,” said the spokesperson. The UN has asked for around 600,000 tents to accommodate earthquake survivors but has received only 140,000 tents, with 200,000 more in the pipeline.

“Relief agencies have started working on different non-tent options to fight the cold weather, such as corrugated iron sheets, mud walls and plastic sheeting, but all plans are stuck because of the lack of funds,” said Tan. She said that Pakistani agencies were aware of the situation but not much could be done. “Our financial source is money committed against the UN flash appeal of $580 million.”

Meanwhile, the United Nations said that international aid agencies had received less than one quarter of the funding they need for emergency relief for Pakistan.


Source: AFP via Daily Times

Urgent need for winter tents in Pakistan

A second disaster is waiting to happen in Pakistan if victims of the Oct 8 earthquake do not have "winterised" tents as the weather freezes in. Peace Malaysia co-ordinator Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said each RM380 tent could keep at least five people warm in the sub-zero temperatures expected in two to three weeks.

"I was in Balakot last week and saw that the current tents used by victims are totally inadequate. Even if you place a heater in a tent now, you won’t feel heat. Imagine what it would be when temperatures dip below zero. It would be absolutely frigid," Mukhriz said at Balai Berita here.

He feared the death toll of 60,000 after the Oct 8 earthquake would double if nothing was done soon to prepare for winter. On the tents, obtained from Dubai, Japan and Korea, he said nearly 500,000 were needed. The Airfreight Forwarders Association of Malaysia (AFAM) will be working with Peace Malaysia to provide free freight services to send aid from anywhere in Malaysia to Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Alternatively, they can SMS a donation to the fund by typing GEMPA2 to donate RM2 and GEMPA5 to donate RM5. The public can also deposit cash directly into Bumiputra-Commerce Bank account number 14200-007719-055. Cheques can be made out to "Ehsan Mangsa Gempabumi Asia Selatan" and sent to B-13-D2, Plaza Mont Kiara, No 2 Jalan Kiara, 50480 Kuala Lumpur.


Source: New Staits Times

RISE-PAK

This site provides and gathers Demographic, Disaster, Access, and Assistance data and maps on all Earthquake Affected Villages to Help Coordinate Relief Efforts.

This information-sharing web portal compiles detailed demographic data, damage, access and relief updates at the village/town level to ensure that no one is overlooked in the relief efforts. The information is provided in a flexible and searchable format and is based on data from population statistics, satellites, geographical systems, and relief agencies, workers, and local officials. The portal is maintained by a consortium of experts from US and Pakistani Universities, the World Bank, NGOs, and the private sector, with support from the Government of Pakistan.

Please see RISE-PAK.

IR update

Aid distributed by IR and donations received at the end of last week.

Points of note: Mormon church has donated 20 containers of aid to IR. The aid will arrive in Pakistan by ship and includes medical equipment, blankets and emergency kits. The Sun newspaper has donated 85 winterised army tents to IR which have now arrived in Islamabad.

Friday 28 October
IR staff gave out 194 family tents in Muzaffarabad district and Neelum Valley. They also handed out 279 quilts, 108 blankets, 492 food packs and 111 plastic sheets.

In Dhirkot, IR aid workers distributed 200 tents, 358 quilts, 86 blankets, 173 water containers, 877 gift packs, 1,264 packets of milk, 994 bags of flour, 988 bottles of cooking oil and 992 food packs.

In Bagh, 294 tents were distributed to villagers.

In Rawalakot, 110 tents, 740 quilts, 368 kitchen sets, 480 food packs, 405 bags of flour, 110 plastic sheets and 190 blankets were distributed to survivors.

IR USA received a large donation of 20 containers of aid from the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints. The shipment contains blankets, medical equipment and emergency kits and will be sent by sea to Pakistan.

The Sun newspaper has donated 85 Hungarian winterised army tents to IR. The aid consignment left UK on Thursday 27 October.

IR South Africa is sending a 40 foot container of warm clothing to Pakistan. Another two containers, one containing blankets, the other containing flour, are due to leave South Africa in early November.

Quake Survivors Face Worsening Weather

Forecasts of rain showers and light snow on earthquake-hit regions of northern Pakistan on Tuesday compounded the misery of hundreds of thousands of people living in the open with little or no shelter.

Temperatures were forecast to dip to around 7 C in the shattered town of Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, and as low as -12 C in the highest mountain villages, the Pakistan Meteorological Department reported. Snow was also expected in villages around 3,353 metres.

With the brutal Himalayan winter just weeks away, the relief effort is rushing to deliver tents, food and medicine to victims before villages are cut-off by snows and helicopter-grounding fog. The UN has warned that thousands more could die without adequate aid. Read More....


Source: Globe and Mail

Aftershock of 4.9 in Pakistan earlier today

Just a few minutes past 12 noon in Pakistan today (01/11/05), an aftershock with a magnitude of 4.9 and a depth of 10 Km ocurred about 50 miles East of Mingaora, 75 miles North of Islamabad and 100 miles South West of Gilgit in Kashmir (Coordinates: 34.73N 73.24E) . The Pakistan Net Department has issued a statement on their website informing that aftershocks are likely to continue for the next two weeks.


Source: USGS NEIC

PMA Needs Volunteers Urgently - North of Pakistan

Are you are interested in helping your fellow countrymen? But can’t go up north? Then this is your chance to make a BIG difference!

The PMA (Pakistan Medical Association) has brought a group of 15 patients to a well equipped
& state of the art hospital in Hub. They need volunteers to be with these patients & help them
remember how to smile.

Transport: Pick & Drop facility by PMA, from PMA house.

Cafeteria:
Free food will be provided from a hygienic café in the hospital.

Resting/Study Rooms:
Well furnished rooms with attached washrooms will be provided to the volunteers

Timing:
12 hourly shifts are schedule (might cut down to 6 hourly, if enough volunteers are ready to help.)

Nature of Work:
• If you are skilled then you can help the doctor carry out orders.
• Talking to the patients & inquire their needs in the new city.

Don't forget to take your books with you, cause you’ll have ample of time to study/read there.
Please contact the PMA house at 2251159.


Source: EseeJee