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Earthquake Pakistan 2005


earthquake paistanAccording to the United Nations, the earthquake in Pakistan was a worse disaster than last year’s tsunami, as its secretary, General Secretary Kofi Annan, warned of a second “massive wave of death’’ if international aid were not dramatically scaled up. “This is a huge, huge disaster… perhaps the biggest ever that we have seen. It is a race against time to save the lives of these people, “Mr. Annan said in New York.
Hours later, his top relief official appealed for a “second Berlin airlift' to speed relief efforts and possibly evacuate thousand of quake victims before the bitter winter sets in,
“The world is not doing enough, ”said the UN emergency coordinator, Jan England, “We thought the tsunami was bad, this is worse”
The aftermath of the massive earthquake of October 8 is rapidly developing into one of the world’s toughest relief operations. At least 79,000 people have died, but the toll could climb much further.  Over 3 million people have been made homeless, many trapped in remote mountain villages without medical aid or proper shelter. An unknown number are succumbing to their injuries every day. UNICEF has warned that up to 10,000 children could die from hunger, hypothermia or illness in the coming weeks.

Yet the outside response has been hesitant. The UN has received just a fraction of the $312m pledged to its emergency appeal, in contrast with 80%of pledges at the same stage after the South Asian tsunami.  The UN has also been criticized for reacting too slowly. Returning from the devastated towns of Muzaffarabad and Balakot, the international secretary, Hilary Benn, told the Guardian there was an “urgent need for a greater UN presence on the ground.”  For example, he said, the International Organization for Migration (LOM) was responsible for providing shelter, but was not present in either town. Mr. Hillary Benn of the Great Britain announced an extra £20m in British aid to fund three Chinook helicopters, food and shelter.

The approach of winter is spurring the relief effort. The first snows have fallen on higher peaks, and some villages already face subzero temperatures at night.  The logistical challenge is daunting. Tents, kerosene stoves and blankets are in chronic short supply. Relief workers have delivered about 65,000 tents but need about 200,000 more. Factories are working around the clock.
Helicopters from Pakistan, the US and Germany are ferrying supplies to the worst-hit areas as mule trains attempt to cross gigantic landslides. When medical help gets through, many victims are having limbs amputated due to gangrene and other infections.
Fears of a disease epidemic have not been realized, but the World Health Organization has reported three deaths from tetanus.earthquake paksitan

Mr. Jan England of the UN had suggested an air bridge similar to that which kept West Berlin supplied during the Soviet blockade of 1949. “We are humanitarians; we don’t know how to evacuate hundreds of thousand of people in the Himalayas. But the most efficient military alliance in the world should be able so, ’’ he said. Aid workers said the aftermath of the earthquake posed a greater challenge than the tsunami, though fewer people had died.  “The tsunami-affected areas were on the coast so we could reach them by boat. The high altitude means helicopters must carry reduced loads, Mia Turner of he World Food Programme told Reuters.
In Balakot quake survivors have started to burn donated clothing for heating as temperatures drop. Balakot, situated in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) is almost 120 kilometers from the capital city of Islamabad. The massive earthquake has almost totally destroyed the town and the surrounding villages.

Balakot is one of the first stops for tourists who wish to visit the secluded but beautiful Kaghan Valley. The River Kunhar runs through the city and is one of the main reasons for the beauty of this areas. Balakot is also the main town in this area, and is surrounded by many smaller towns and villages. Winter can bring snow to the region, but after March temperatures can rise dramatically and result in a much warmer climate.

On the other side of the River Kunhar is a small town of Ghari Habibullah Khan. Although, Ghari Habib is in a little better condition as compared to Balakot, the surrounding villages have seen a horrible devastation. The Diocese of Peshawar’s Mobile Health Unit initiated operations from Gari Habibullah immediately after the earthquake. Now, the Diocese has a Static Health Unit at Shohal (Najaf), Balakot, and a Mobile Health Unit covering different villages.
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