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The 2005 Pakistan Earthquake Relief Efforts Part 1

6th October, 2015

In the second of our series this week marking the 10th anniversary of the Pakistan earthquake which claimed more than 80,000 lives, we recall some of the emergency relief programmes carried out by Islamic Help at the time.

Shortly after the 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck Kashmir and northern Pakistan, Islamic Help launched what became its biggest emergency relief programme at the time.

In the early stages, a central office was established in the capital Islamabad and a central camp on Wahdat Road in Lahore from where emergency aid was distributed for several days.

As well as a main relief camp at Muzzafarabad in the heart of the devastation, other major camps were set up as central distribution points. They were located in Bandi Abbaspur, Mahmood Gali District Bagh, Rawalakot and Forward Kahuta District Bagh.

Dozens of truckloads of relief aid including food and water, warm clothes, bedding, blankets, generators and mobile phones for power and communication, canopies, tents, shovels,  pickaxes and 10,000 coffins were distributed from these camps. The authorities acknowledged Islamic Help as being the first organisation to reach affected areas in Bandi Abbaspur and Mahmood Gali District Bagh.

FOOD: As well as the camps, where food was cooked and distributed to the displaced despite the lack of electricity, 200 truckloads of aid was ferried to other affected areas throughout Pakistan.

In Muzaffarabad, the Abbas Medical Institute was the only hospital in the area which survived the earthquake. It was desperately overcrowded, with 500 patients, relatives and attendants. Islamic Help, working with doctors and paramedical staff, took up the challenge of providing all of them with breakfasts and twice-daily meals for more than 6 months.

With food supplies among the priorities, Islamic Help teams provided monthly rations comprised of flour, rice, pulses, ghee, sugar, dry milk, tea leaves, salt, chillies and spices to 6,000 people for four months in the villages of Ambore, Muzaffarabad; Forward Kahuta, District Bagh; Jhandwal, Shinkiari; Ghari Muzaffar Khan in Batgram.

SHELTER: Shelter was another priority and tent villages were set up for 900 families in 8 areas. Water and sanitation facilities were set up and emergency teams provided blankets, bedding and warm clothes.

Play areas were set up for youngsters and children were registered in local schools while employment opportunities found for displaced adults whose livelihoods had been destroyed in the disaster.

One of the major projects was the construction of shelter homes using iron sheets to help displaced families cope with the winter. Delivering the iron sheets and making arrangements for labour to construct the homes proved a major obstacle.

The United Nations provided a helicopter service from Muzaffarabad from where 10,000 sheets were delivered to the Union Council Bhairi and Punkjot of Kotlah Valley via 37 chartered flights. This paved the way for 828 homes to be constructed. This work was replicated throughout other affected areas of Azad Kashmir and Sarhad Province where a further 1,375 homes were built.

You'll find more about the relief efforts at Part 2 here