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Pakistan - Jordskælvets konsekvenser skredes som ringe i vandet!

PAKISTAN: Urgent aid needed now for quake-hit north

IRINnews.org, 18. oktober 2005

Mens dødstallet stiger og temperaturen falder vokser omfanget af katastrofen efter jordskælvet i Pakistan. Behovet for nødhjælp er enormt, men indtil videre er det fulde omfang af konsekvenser ikke gået op for omverdenen. Indtil videre er kun omkring 15% af den nødvendige nødhjælp blevet bevilget.

An injured man carried for many hours from his mountain village enters Balakot - ©  Edward Parsons/IRIN
MUZAFFARABAD, 18 Oct 2005 (IRIN) - The death toll is rising and weather conditions worsening, but 10 days on from the earthquake that devastated northern Pakistan, the world community has still not grasped the enormity of the disaster, according to senior UN relief officials.

“It’s true that we don’t have enough capacity. It’s true that we’re not getting enough supplies through quickly enough. It’s true that people are facing the most desperate situations,” said Rob Holden, head of operations for the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team in Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

“The fact that people are dying should be catalyst enough to scale up relief efforts and put pressure on aid agencies,” Holden said.

But the international community has yet to fully appreciate the devastation caused by one of the worst earthquakes to hit the South Asia region in more than 100 years.

Of the US $312 million requested by the UN for relief efforts, only $45 million has been pledged, and only $15 million actually contributed.

“It’s only five percent funded if you look at the contributions,” said Elisabeth Byrs, a spokeswoman for the UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA), from Geneva on Tuesday. “It is not enough. More is urgently needed.”

More than 40,000 people were killed and thousands more injured when the quake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale ripped though much of Pakistan’s north on 8 October, also affecting parts of Afghanistan and India-administered Kashmir.

But it was Pakistan-administered Kashmir that bore the brunt of the quake’s wrath, leaving more than three million people homeless.

According to the UN Emergency Response Centre in the Pakistan capital of Islamabad, humanitarian relief efforts are focusing on bringing emergency shelter, food and medical assistance to millions stranded in quake-affected regions, but more assistance is urgently needed.

In a statement on Monday, the centre said logistics and access remain the key challenges in this unprecedented relief operation, adding many smaller roads had collapsed or been obstructed by landslides.

All possible modes of transport are being used to deliver aid. The world’s smallest helicopters, capable of carrying loads of up to 19 mt, are among 80 such aircraft in operation, with more scheduled to arrive each day. Trucks and other rough-terrain vehicles, even groups of trekkers, mules and packhorses have been deployed.

Immediate temporary shelter remains the critical need for millions who survived the quake. The Pakistan government has supplied thousands of tents and the UN has delivered an additional 32,000, with thousands more on the way.

However, time is of the essence, a senior UN official explained, with plummeting temperatures posing new hurdles for relief workers delivering life-saving supplies to remote communities.

Kevin Kennedy, OCHA Director for Coordination and Response, described a “race against time … as the weather closes in”. Relief agencies faced “daunting logistical problems in delivering assistance to those in need”, he added.

Many fear the situation could worsen, with local media speculating on a potential death toll of more than 100,000.

UNDAC head Holden described the relief operation as far more complex and demanding than last year’s tsunami. He said the true scope of the devastation was yet to be ascertained.

“We don’t have full clarity of the situation ... because the scale of the destruction is so massive, the geographical area is so huge and there are frequent disruptions in the weather,” he said.

© IRIN - This article appeared originally on IRIN News.org and is published by engelund.dk according a general agreement. To view the original article, please click here.
IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Networks) is a project of UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
[This article does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies.]


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Opdateret d. 9.1.2006