October 14, 2005
South Asia: Earthquake Update #2
With at least 20,000 people killed and some 42,000 injured following Saturday’s devastating earthquake in northern Pakistan and Kashmir, Church World Service’s (CWS) Pakistan-Afghanistan office reports it is responding with expedited initial food relief and shelter kits to survivors in the Murree Hills in northern Pakistan. CWS and PWRDF are both members of the global alliance Action by Churches Together (ACT) International.
Although access to Mansehra from outlying areas is hampered due to road damage, CWS Pakistan’s Basic Health Unit staff report that they are already seeing an increasing flow of people with medical needs.
From Islamabad Sunday morning, Church World Service Pakistan/Afghanistan senior program manager Shama Mall reported, “CWS Mansehra medical teams are out in the community providing tetanus shots to everyone around. And one of our assessment teams managed to get up to Batagram in northwestern Pakistan this morning.”
Mall says, “The situation is still very chaotic here. Right now everyone is focusing on rescue efforts, but those have been made difficult by the heavy rains and hail that hit some of the affected areas.” “Tremors are continuing,” Mall said, “so people are afraid to be indoors. Many people are sleeping in their cars or in the outside.” The earthquake was the worst in Kashmir in over 100 years. Some of the areas believed to be worst hit by the quake are still not accessible except by air, due to road damage and mudslides.
Church World Service has had relief and development operations in Pakistan for more than 25 years, and is working with government, the UN, and other international relief groups, which include ACT members, to implement coordinated and rapid response to survivors.
U.S.-based CWS Emergency Response interim director Donna Derr says, “Church World Service facilities in Mansehra and Murree in northern Pakistan sustained minor damage, but we are relieved that all staff in our Islamabad office survived, are accounted for, and are responding. We are grieved to report, however, that one of the staff members at our Mansehra office reports that his wife and children died in their home when the home collapsed in the earthquake.”
Derr says CWS staff, the UN and other aid groups in the region are reporting that about 70 percent of homes in the Mansehra area are damaged or destroyed.
Derr reports that during the quake, the water tank at CWS’s Mansehra office and clinic exploded and windows shattered, but she says, “Staff have been cleaning up the clinic area, and it’s now open, serving survivors needing medical attention.”
CWS Pakistan-Afghanistan offices in Karachi, Islamabad, Mansehra, and Murree are organizing relief efforts and strategizing to address needs on the ground. Three Church World Service teams are assessing needs and determining longer-term CWS response focus.
Initial CWS relief plans include providing emergency food packages for 950 families in the most affected and remote areas of Northwest Frontier Province, near the border with Afghanistan, and in Azad Kashmir.
“Long-term response may focus around Mansehra and Murree, communities north of Islamabad where CWS has programs and good community connections,” Derr said. “We’re looking at assisting 10,000 affected families with food and non-food items.”
Based on ACT Dateline, October 10, 2005
As of October 11, PWRDF has contributed $25,000 to the coordinated global appeal.
To Make a Donation
- On-line: At Canada Helps; after you fill in a donation amount, you can designate your contribution to "South Asia Earthquake".
- By Phone: Contact Barbara Wilkins at (416) 924-9199, ext. 320 for credit card donations. Please do not send your credit card number by e-mail or fax.
- By Mail: Please make cheques out to "PWRDF", mark them for South Asia Earthquake" and send to:
The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund
The Anglican Church of Canada
80 Hayden Street
Toronto, Ontario M4Y 3G2
Naba Gurung PWRDF Development Program Officer
Asia-Pacific, Global and Emergencies
Phone:416) 924-9199, ext. 321
Elsa Tesfay-Musa PWRDF Development Program Coordinator
Refugees and Emergency Relief
Phone:(416) 924-9199, ext. 206