Pakistan quake survivors struggle in winter conditions

Pakistan quake survivors struggle in winter conditions

By staff writers
4 Jan 2006

Pakistan quake survivors struggle in winter conditions

-04/01/06

Hundreds of thousands of survivors from the devastating earthquake that hit Pakistan and India last year are struggling through severe winter weather conditions.

Relief work continues to be hampered by heavy snow and rain, say humanitarian and religious agencies, both Muslim and Christian.

Relief flights carrying provisions have been halted for a third day by the bad weather, which has also led to landslides on roads and the flooding of tents in perilous mountain terrain.

Between two and three million people have been living in tents or crude shelters patched together from their ruined homes since the quake on 8 October 2005, which killed more than 73,000 people.

Many thousands are still located in villages. The capabilities of both the army and United Nations workers, who are organising the relief effort, are being put to the test at the moment.

According to UK-based international development and relief agency Oxfam, survivors of the disaster have been facing the terrible decision about whether to abandon their mountain homes and seek shelter at lower, warmer altitudes ñ involving huge risk to their families in so doing.

The organisation, along with other humanitarian groups, has been taking what action it can over the past few days to help those with inadequate shelter.

The US ecumenical agency Church World Service, which has assisted 20,000 of the worst affected families with shelter and food kits and has provided medical assistance to around 100,000 people, also expressed concern about the harsh winter conditions.

In spite the bad weather, there have been no reported deaths related to the cold yet. But those who have stayed in their villages remain at risk.

International Committee of the Red Cross spokesperson Jessica Barry, speaking from Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistani Kashmir, said the situation was not as bad as had been feared overall. But the worst may not be over, she warned.

And a CWS spokesperson said that the relief and reconstruction task was ìunprecedentedî in scale.

Meteorological reports suggest that the severe cold may continue until the end of this week.

Meanwhile an avalanche killed 24 people in Pakistan last week. It was triggered by one of the hundreds of aftershocks that have shaken the region since October. The Norwegian Refugee Council is warning that snow has increased the danger of further falls.

[Also on Ekklesia: Faith groups respond rapidly to South Asia quake tragedy; Kashmir quake aid crosses communal and belief boundaries; Archbishop of Canterbury to visit quake-hit Pakistan; Relief agencies say government money for quake relief is critical; Christian Aid and Tearfund pledge Pakistan relief support; Pope calls for massive aid to Pakistan, India and Afghanistan]

Hundreds of thousands of survivors from the devastating earthquake that hit Pakistan and India last year are struggling through severe winter weather conditions.

Relief work continues to be hampered by heavy snow and rain, say humanitarian and religious agencies, both Muslim and Christian.

Relief flights carrying provisions have been halted for a third day by the bad weather, which has also led to landslides on roads and the flooding of tents in perilous mountain terrain.

Between two and three million people have been living in tents or crude shelters patched together from their ruined homes since the quake on 8 October 2005, which killed more than 73,000 people.

Many thousands are still located in villages. The capabilities of both the army and United Nations workers, who are organising the relief effort, are being put to the test at the moment.

According to UK-based international development and relief agency Oxfam, survivors of the disaster have been facing the terrible decision about whether to abandon their mountain homes and seek shelter at lower, warmer altitudes - involving huge risk to their families in so doing.

The organisation, along with other humanitarian groups, has been taking what action it can over the past few days to help those with inadequate shelter.

The US ecumenical agency Church World Service, which has assisted 20,000 of the worst affected families with shelter and food kits and has provided medical assistance to around 100,000 people, also expressed concern about the harsh winter conditions.

In spite the bad weather, there have been no reported deaths related to the cold yet. But those who have stayed in their villages remain at risk.

International Committee of the Red Cross spokesperson Jessica Barry, speaking from Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistani Kashmir, said the situation was not as bad as had been feared overall. But the worst may not be over, she warned.

And a CWS spokesperson said that the relief and reconstruction task was 'unprecedented' in scale.

Meteorological reports suggest that the severe cold may continue until the end of this week.

Meanwhile an avalanche killed 24 people in Pakistan last week. It was triggered by one of the hundreds of aftershocks that have shaken the region since October. The Norwegian Refugee Council is warning that snow has increased the danger of further falls.

[Also on Ekklesia: Faith groups respond rapidly to South Asia quake tragedy; Kashmir quake aid crosses communal and belief boundaries; Archbishop of Canterbury to visit quake-hit Pakistan; Relief agencies say government money for quake relief is critical; Christian Aid and Tearfund pledge Pakistan relief support; Pope calls for massive aid to Pakistan, India and Afghanistan]

Keywords: pakistan
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