As temperatures dip, UN agency gives warm clothing to young Pakistani quake survivors

11 January 2006

As winter tightens its grip on the earthquake-affected mountainous areas near Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, staff of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) are distributing warm clothing to vulnerable young survivors.

As winter tightens its grip on the earthquake-affected mountainous areas near Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, staff of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) are distributing warm clothing to vulnerable young survivors.

Teams from the agency recently made the difficult journey to Danna village, traveling some 30 kilometres north of Muzaffarabad city over curved roads beset by landslides.

UNHCR tents in the village provide temporary shelter to families that lost their homes and many loved ones in the 8 October earthquake that killed more than 73,000 people.

Residents have been suffering as the mercury drops. “The chilly winds make it difficult for us even to sleep at night,” said village elder Chaudry Sadiq, welcoming the warm clothing distributed by UNHCR to local children.

During the agency's drive to winterize tents in the camps around Muzaffarabad and the North West Frontier Province, some 25,000 plastic sheets, 250,000 blankets and 17,000 mattresses were distributed to more than 100,000 people. In the first phase, the agency distributed three blankets per person, two plastics sheets per tent and mattresses for sick women and children.

UNHCR, which has responsibility for camp management within the UN team, is currently supporting the Pakistan Government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in nearly 140 earthquake relief camps housing more than 137,000 people left homeless by the quake.

During its second phase of winterization, UNHCR is distributing around 40,000 kerosene stoves to the earthquake survivors, along with fire-fighting equipment and a mass information campaign to inform camp residents of fire risks and prevention.

 

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