Pakistan: with winter closing in, UN sets out quake relief priorities for December

2 December 2005

With the harsh Himalayan winter fast approaching, the United Nations emergency office today laid out December's priorities for bringing relief to the survivors of Pakistan's devastating earthquake, including continued assistance for up to 380,000 people who choose to remain in their homes in remote locations.

Sufficient camp accommodations must also be provided for 250,000 others who move to lower elevations as the snows close in two months after the quake which killed some 80,000 people, injured as many others and left up to 3 million homeless.

"The implications have become obvious: more population movements are anticipated, more challenges will be faced for the delivery of assistance and more needs for the affected population will emerge, especially among the most vulnerable groups," the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement.

Since the quake struck on 8 October, much has been achieved by the various aid providers, including UN agencies, national and international bodies and non-governmental organizations.

Some 410,000 tents and 3.1 million blankets have been distributed, 300,000 children have been vaccinated, almost 90 per cent of water needs are now being covered in planned camps, and more than 2,000 'School in a Box' kits are being handed out.

Much, however, remains to be done to consolidate and sustain these gains especially as winter closes in and the UN's $550 million flash appeal remains only 40 per cent covered, OCHA reported.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is continuing its efforts to bring as many relief items as possible and is about to start airlifting 14,400 stoves on charter flights from Jordan, with an additional 12,600 stoves coming in from Turkey by next week.

 

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