Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Dear Friends:

On October 8, 2005 at 8:50 am a magnitude 7.6 (on Richter scale) earthquake hit Pakistan with the epicenter of the quake located near Muzaffarabad (Pakistan-controlled Kashmir), approximately 60 miles from Islamabad. According to the varying estimates between 54,000 to over 80,000 have perished. Furthermore, approximately 80,000 were injured and over 3 million people are internally displaced. It is estimated that between 400,000 to 800,000 of the affected population have yet to be reached, many of them ill and injured. Three weeks post-earthquake, aftershocks (magnitude between 5.4 and 5.9) have further deteriorated the infrastructure of the affected area. The situation has been further worsened by the weather and difficult terrain.

With donor fatigue apparent even the United Nation operations have been affected. According to estimates the relief effort is short of over $100 million in the next few months. With around 60 countries pledging $580 million for relief efforts in Geneva, only $15.8 million or just 20% of the money the United Nation needs for basic relief was designated or promised for immediate delivery. With the brutal Himalayan winters approaching rapidly and relief supplies and teams not reaching some areas compounded by an apparent donor fatigue, time might be running out for many of the survivors. However good intention of the aid agencies, without global monetary support a lot more lives will be lost. The global community is faced with a social challenge and needs to step up as this crisis will define its future role.

Please send your comments/stories and have your friends send their comments and stories to Pakistan Earthquake.
Rashid Chotani

Day on The Hill NOVEMBER 17

We as a community need to bring awareness to the elected officials that more is needed to help the earthquake victims in Pakistan. In this regard a day on the hill is being planned on Nov 17th. We urge you to write to your congressman/senator to setup an appointment for Nov 17th. You can find your elected Representative address from the following link. Send an email/fax/telephone to your Representative scheduler requesting for 15 minutes of their time.


Contact Mr. Irfan Malik at for further information

OPEN Conference: Beyond Us, Beyond Now, Post Earthquake Reconstruction and Development. November 13

Conference Venue: The Marvin Center - Grand Ballroom at GWU 800 21st Street NW

Conference Objectives: The objective of the conference is to understand the challenges posed by the earthquake and assess opportunities and offer recommendations for improvement over the next year in primarily three areas: integration of displaced people, infrastructure development, and media awareness. In particular, OPEN will develop conference proceedings including a set of recommended initiatives for improving the response in each of the three focus areas. We expect that these recommended initiatives will be innovative, cost-effective and realistic and in some cases may be implemented by commercial or non-profit organizations on the basis of various incentive or tax credits. These results, conclusions and recommendations would need to be highlighted in the national and trade press and would need to go to key people in the United Sates and Pakistan Governments. To provide ongoing management and support for these initiatives, formation of working groups are envisioned with team members in the United States and in Pakistan.

Acute Diarrhea Outbreak

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Assessment Reports

Pattan Development Organisation 10 November
WHO Situation Report 10 November
UN Minimum Requirements for Health Care Waste Management in Affected Areas 10 November
OCHA Minimum Requirements for Health Care Waste Management in Affected Areas (Water/Sanitation) 10 November
SITREP Emergency Shelter 9 November
South Asia Earthquake Programmes - November 8 Situation MAP

Relief Operations Summary 5 November
USAID South Asia Earthquake Weekly Update 4 November
Save the Children Alliance 1 November
Atif Sindhu October 17
SUNGI Muzzafarabad 16 October
Save the Childeren 16 October
Save the Children 15 October
Save the Childeren 15 October
Red Cross -14 October
Save the Childeren 14 October
Red Cross -13 October
Save the Children Batagram 13 October
Save the Children Muzzafarabad13 October
Save the Childeren Muzzafarabad 13 October
Concern Worldwide
Save the Children Abbottabad 12 October
Save the Childeren 12 October
Red Cross - 11 October
Save the Childeren 11 October
Joint Report Shangla & Kohistan by NGOs 10 October
SUNGI Oct 10, 2005
Save the Childeren 10 October
Joint Report Shangla & Kohistan by NGOs 09 October
Save the Childeren 9 October
Oxfam - 08 October
Save the Childeren 8 October
Earthquake Update -1 by PATTAN Development Organization
A Church Word Service
OCHA Situation Report No. 6

Monday, November 07, 2005

STORIES From the Field: Doctor’s Diary

by Dr. Naseem Salahuddin

Three weeks after the earthquake struck, our team of 6 doctors- four women and two men- was in Muzaffarabad and Jhelum Valley to run a medical camp. The devastation wreaked by the monstrous upheaval was beyond belief. Driving through the city center of Muzaffarabad one saw hundreds of structures reduced to rubble. Cement blocks dangled precariously from metal rods, poised to crush the cranium of a survivor. The three stories of Hotel Sangam stood at an angle as if a giant hand had pushed it aside. Collapse was imminent. A car lay flattened like a pancake under a collapsed structure. The once crowded Combined Military Hospital was no more. Earth movers were leveling the ground which had swallowed up doctors, nurses, patients and equipment. Only the metal gate creaked to testify to its past existence. Loudspeakers were still asking for help to dig out corpses from the rubble of a men’s college where the smell of decomposed bodies pervaded the air. The substandard construction of public buildings, educational institutions and hospitals became apparent as all had folded in like a pack of cards.

Our team was organized by Indus Motors which has generously arranged for rotating groups of doctors, paramedics and boy scouts from Quetta, as well as medicines and emergency relief items for distribution to thousands of victims. The house where we were accommodated was the lone intact structure in the entire neighborhood. We were transported in cars with a convoy of three pickup trucks packed with medicines and relief goods. From Muzaffarabad we drove for two hours through rough and rocky terrain past Hattian Bala and then a further hour and a half uphill through pine forests to Bani Hafez at 7,500 feet. The road was steep, narrow, winding and often dangerously eroded and cracked. At one point a bridge had collapsed into the ravine.

We had adequate help at the Bani Hafez camp. Our arrival had been announced and scouts roved neighbouring villages bringing patients on makeshift stretchers. They had already queued up and were waiting for us in the warm pleasant sunshine under the trees. There was an abundance of medicines and material for wound management. Mattresses were laid out for those in pain or exhausted from the arduous ascent or descent.

Our medical team set to work at whatever the member felt best at. The anaesthesiologist started IV fluids on a few patients in shock from infection or simple dehydration, and injected intravenous antibiotics as needed. The ENT surgeon was best at wound debridement and dressing and attending to children with ear or throat infections or removal of foreign bodies. The young dentist busied herself with oral problems and helped in wound cleaning. The general practitioner dealt with the all too frequent complaints of muscle pain from being buried under debris, respiratory tract infections and non specific GI complaints, and the medical student gave a helping hand to any one who needed one. She was particularly good with infants and small children. My own specialty of Infectious Diseases was handy for selection of antibiotics for wound infections, pneumonias and bloody diarrheas. Tetanus immuneglobulin and toxoid were absent from our formulary but at our request were made available on the following day. Scabies was rampant. For suspected fractures we would write a request for X-ray and scouts would escort the patient in the van to the facility. Some patients required admission and were sent to Abbas Medical Center.

Over the 4 days of medical camp we treated over 500 outpatients and also acted as counselors. Each man, woman or child had a poignant tale of deaths in the family, injuries or loss of home and belongings. They vividly recounted moments of the ‘quake. Typically, one heard a strange hissing sound followed by a sensation of being thrown from one side to the other; the sky darkened from thick clouds of dust. Some escaped falling debris and others found themselves buried under the rubble or a beam or a wall. One woman scraped with her fingers to get her child out only to find that her child was dead. A school teacher sitting outside the classroom saw children buried below the neck or arms and legs sticking out of rubble. He was able to rescue at least a few students while others died screaming. When he looked in the opposite direction the other part of the building had vanished and he could see the field beyond. He thought he was dreaming until it occurred to him his own children might be dead. He ran to look for them, only to find the dead body of his only son. The four daughters and wife were home and alive. “I have just come to make my son’s grave,” he added as tears flowed and his shoulders convulsed as he wept. With the enormous number of students and teachers in school at 9 am on that fateful day, and who either died or were injured, a vacuum of that generation will exist for years to come.

One man related how he was walking on the mountain with his son when the mountain fissured and the boy disappeared into the cleft for ever. A 20 weeks pregnant woman lay under a beam for 6 hours and could not be sure of fetal movements. A 12 year old girl with a fractured arm carried her infant brother for miles. They were the sole survivors of their family in the vast, lonely world. Where would they go, what is their future? I kept swallowing that painful lump in my throat.

Twelve year old Samina could not walk to the camp from severe pain in her left hip and a wrist drop, so I clambered up the slope into her improvised hut. Her parents were alive but her brother had died. After injecting a pain killer I immobilized her wrist on to a cardboard splint. The grateful mother served me hot tea and biscuits from their meager food stock. The father rummaged under the trees and picked choice walnuts and miswak for me to take back. “These and my prayers are all I can offer”, he said.

As there is no industry for local employment majority of men work in cities or overseas, leaving behind vulnerable women and children to fend for themselves. The medical, social and psychological consequences of the calamity will be permanent for many, I am sure. Medical camps are helpful but two days at two sites each were insufficient. Continuity of care is essential and I would hope that more doctors, especially women doctors and nurses would volunteer. In any case, for the future this is the time to restructure preventive and curative health care, safe housing and employment. The villagers’ requirements are of food and shelter, not clothes which are discarded on the mountain side. One man disdainfully told me he did not want used or mismatched clothes, and another said he did not wish to carry extra weight up the mountain.

A scene that shall forever be embedded in my memory is the valley that our camp overlooked. Four villages once dotted the forested mountain side. In the few seconds that the earth shook and the mountains rose and tore apart, a massive landslide swallowed all the homes in its hungry path. And there, before my eyes was a third smaller mountain in the middle of the valley. This is the tomb of a few thousand villagers.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the any Institution of the Government of Pakistan.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Federal Relief Commission Link

This web site has been created to facilitate earthquake relief and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan. Furthermore, This portal has been set up by a coalition of private sector and non government organizations working in the development sector.This portal aims to facilitate relief and reconstruction activities in Pakistan following the devastating earthquake that struck South Asia on 8 th October 2005. This activity is voluntary and provides a neutral platform irrespective of mandate and programmatic activities of partner organizations.

Locating People Link

This web link helps people find each other in the aftermath of the October 8, 2005 earthquake. Use this website to report the status of those displaced by the earthquake; or search for a missing person.

Relief Organizations Working in Pakistan

Some of the Relief Organizations Working in Pakistan

Aid Workers Association for the Development of Pakistan Bitsonline Children's Resources International Concern Disasters Emegency Committee (UK) EDHI International Fatimid Foundation
Help Asia HIC Human Development Foundation Humanity First ICRC International Federation of the Red Cross International Rescue Committee India-Pakistan Earthquake Relief Fund Islamic Relief Kashmir International Relief Fund LUMS Disaster Relief Fund Mercy Corps OCHA Oxfam UK The Citizen's Foundation Relief Web Pakistan Relief Relief Web SABAWON International TCF Relief Fund UNDP UNICEF World Bank WFP WHO World Vision