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Pakistan Earthquake

On October 9th 2005, Pakistan was hit by a massive earthquake. The quake measured 7.6 on the Richter scale, and was centred in Kashmir. The school day had just began and many school children were killed as their schools collapsed. Because the laws controlling building works in the area aren't as strict as in the UK, the buildings there aren't very strong, putting them at risk from quakes.

Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf said that 19,000 people were killed and thousands made homeless. Rescue efforts were difficult because of landslides destroying roads and bridges, and a lack of helicopters. He asked for aid to pay for helicopters, as well as tents, blankets and medicines.

By now people had not eaten or drank water for 3 days. It was realised that two million people could have lost their homes. Many people were sleeping rough out in the open. In the UK, the Disasters Emergency Committee (made up of 13 charities in the UK) met to talk about how they could help. They began sending food: pulses, flour, and wheat - food to keep people alive, as well as setting up medical camps. They say that people here can help by fundraising, now for emergency aid, and for a long time to help rebuild schools and hospitals.

Two weeks after the quake hit, adults and children were coming down from the mountains to emergency medical camps that have been set up. Waiting so long for medical help has led to infections and gangrene. The United Nations said that there is only a window of 3 weeks to get aid to people up in the mountains before heavy snow stops aid. If aid stops thousands more people will die. They said they needed more countries to offer helicopters to get aid into the mountains. By now they think that 51,000 people had died and and the number of injured more than 74,000. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), sent in 1,500 tents, 4,500 blankets, 2,200 plastic sheets, 3,000 jerry cans and 700 kitchen sets to affected, to set up a secure camp environment for around 500,000 of those made homeless. Nearly 500,000 people have received UN World Food Programme (WFP) high-energy food rations but over 1 million people still need food.

Three weeks after the quake hit, they have received only $5.5 million of the $30 million it needed for the emergency operation, and to help over 3 million people now homeless. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) warned that it might be forced to ground its helicopters, within the next two weeks because of lack of funds to fly them. UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Ann M. Veneman said “The children and their families cannot wait much longer. We must do everything we can to ensure their survival. They need shelter and care as quickly as possible without urgent action from us large numbers of children could die immediately,” she said.

Four weeks after the quake hit a news briefing in Geneva was told: "We are continuing to look for additional sources of supplies, but our efforts are still hobbled by a lack of funds.” With only $133 million of the $550 million sought so far contributed or pledged – the UN and its partners have decided to target up to 200,000 people living in high altitude valleys above the snowline who may become inaccessible within the next four weeks, as well as an estimated 150,000 people who may choose to move down to the lower valleys.

By the end of November the prime minister said that International donors have pledged $5.4bn. The UN has said though that the money has not yet arrived and resources will run out in January.


Sources

BBC News
http://newssearch.bbc.co.uk/
Then searched for Pakistan Earthquake

United Nations website
http://www.un.org/News/
Then search for Pakistan Earthquake
(This will give you an update)

 
   

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