Christian Aid funds to help victims of Afghanistan-Pakistan quake

By agency reporter
October 29, 2015

Christian Aid has sent £50,000 to help meet the mounting needs of victims in both Afghanistan and Pakistan following the  earthquake on 26 October.

More than 382 people are reported dead, mostly in Pakistan, after the magnitude 7.5 earthquake hit north-eastern Afghanistan. At least 2,000 people were injured and the casualty figures will continue to rise as rescuers reach more remote areas.

Madara Hettiarachchi, Head of Humanitarian Programmes for Asia and the Middle East at Christian Aid, said: “In the worst affected areas, most families have been left homeless. Christian Aid is working with partners in Afghanistan and Pakistan to deliver food, hygiene items and emergency shelter. We will also distribute blankets to protect them from the approaching bitter winter months, when temperatures plummet to below freezing.”

She added: “From experience, we know that disasters such as earthquakes have a long-term impact on people. An earthquake of this magnitude is likely to cause large scale damage, such as landslides and the destruction of homes and crops, and we are preparing to deal with the bigger picture once the full extent of the damage is assessed and meet the needs of the most vulnerable.”

Aid has started to reach the Badakhshan province in Afghanistan, the epicentre of Monday morning’s earthquake.

However, some routes to affected communities remain blocked, making it hard to assess the full extent of the damage. It will take days to reach these communities by road and communications appear to have gone down in the worst-affected areas.

Despite this, teams from Christian Aid partner Community World Service Asia (CWSA) are on the ground, assessing needs and the level of damage in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in North West Pakistan. 

They report widespread destruction. In many districts, most houses have been damaged and are not safe to live in and almost a third totally destroyed.

Aid workers estimate 1.5 million people have been affected in Pakistan alone, statistics for Afghanistan are harder to estimate due to the difficulty in accessing some areas.

Several districts near the epicentre of the 7.5 magnitude earthquake in Afghanistan are also affected by conflict, adding to the difficulties of getting help to people.

However, Madara Hettiarachchi explains: “Christian Aid has worked in Afghanistan for over 40 years.  We’ve been able to reach the most vulnerable families and have done it under various circumstances over the years by working with experienced local partners. We will look to lean on that local knowledge as we gear up to respond to the current crisis.”

* Christian Aid http://www.christianaid.org.uk/index.aspx

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