Earth Science News  





. Fear And Cold Intensify In Pakistan Quake Camps


Muzaffarabad (AFP) Dec 01, 2005
Earthquake survivors in Pakistan said Thursday they fear for their future as a bitter winter intensifies and their life in makeshift tent camps becomes more miserable with each passing day.

Almost eight weeks after the devastating October 8 disaster, which killed more than 73,000 people, the fate of the 3.5 million others who were left homeless is far from secure.

Aid officials have warned for weeks that people in remote Himalayan villages are at risk of dying, but the situation in the refugee camps is causing increased concern as victims descend from the mountains.

"We survived the earthquake but we dont know if we will survive the winter," said Haji Abdul Rehman, living with his two sons and eight daughters in a single tent in Muzaffarabad, the ruined capital of Pakistani Kashmir.

Rehman, formerly a driver and fruit seller, said living in the squalid camp in the grounds of the city's destroyed university was "sheer misery".

"I lost an 11-year-old daughter when her school collapsed and now we are stranded in the camp and pray to God to help us," he said.

Daily life in the camps dawns with men and boys trying to find loaves of bread for their families and queuing up at food distribution outlets set up by aid agencies and Islamic relief groups.

Women and girls stay behind in the tents, most of them pitched on wet soil along the banks of the Neelum and Jhelum rivers that converge in Muzaffarabad.

Sanitation has been one of the biggest problems, despite efforts by United Nations and aid agency workers to bring order to the camps. In November hundreds of people at the University Ground were struck with acute diarrhoea.

Most camp dwellers have hardly bathed for the last two months, as the swirling river water passing by is too cold to enter.

"The hygienic situation is fairly deplorable, so I would have to say that water and sanitation is our main priority right now," United Nations Children's Fund health officer Tamur Mueenuddin was quoted as saying in a statement Thursday.

Relief workers have dug pit latrines and brought water tanks to the camps. They are also educating displaced families about how to use latrines and teaching children to wash their hands with soap and water regularly. But the onset of harsh winter weather at the weekend is set to bring even more refugees down from the soaring peaks and into the already-overflowing city, UN officials say.

"This is our major concern. We have to be prepared for the impending situation and it's going to be a very difficult task," said Rashid Khalikov, the chief UN coordinator in Muzaffarabad.

While snow and rain have stopped for a few days, temperatures at night are set to plummet as low as -10 degree Celsius (14 Fahrenheit) in the highest hamlets, meteorological officials said.

At one relief camp run by one of Pakistan's biggest religious parties, Jamaat-e-Islami, people complained of a lack of food. "We used to get meals twice a day, but for the past few days they have only given us rice in the evening," said Mohammad Yaqub, a father of eight.

Camp administrator Sheikh Atiqur Rehman said they had been distributing ten thousand packs of cooked rice a day. "People are traumatized, but we are trying our best to help them," he said.

The only hope on the horizon is that some people had started rebuilding their homes in Muzaffarabad after the Pakistani government started paying out compensation, the UN's Khalikov said.

Yet officials warn that recent international pledges of more than six billion dollars for long-term reconstruction should not take the focus away from the urgent plight of survivors right now.

"The race against time continues," the UN's emergency coordinator in Pakistan, Jan Vandemoortele, said during a visit to Muzaffarabad on Wednesday.

Related Links
SpaceDaily
Search SpaceDaily
Subscribe To SpaceDaily Express

Winter Trebles Illnesses In Pakistan Quake Zone
Muzaffarabad (AFP) Nov 30, 2005
Winter weather in Pakistan's quake zone has tripled the number of people treated in hospital, with more than 1,000 a day seeking help for pneumonia and other ailments, officials said Wednesday.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • Fear And Cold Intensify In Pakistan Quake Camps
  • Winter Trebles Illnesses In Pakistan Quake Zone
  • Three Months After Katrina New Orleans Still In The Dark
  • Cash Aid Beats Supplies After Disasters: Study

  • Crystal Sponges Excel At Sopping Up CO2
  • Hydrogen Could Help Halve Global Carbon Emissions By 2050
  • Kyoto Climate Accord Becomes Operational
  • Scientific Values Are Threatened By Climate Change Denial Lobby, Claims Lord May

  • Landsat 5 Back-Up Solar Array Drive Having Technical Problems
  • New Model Protects Wetlands Of The Future
  • Earth From Space: Aircraft Contrails Over The United States
  • Envisat Monitors China's Largest Lake, Rivers Flooding

  • Norway And Britain To Cooperate On Underwater CO2 Storage
  • Canadian Technology To Reduce Emissions Around The World
  • Russia Gives Green Light To Siberia-Pacific Pipeline
  • Airline, Auto Sectors Ripe For Carbon Market: IEA

  • Needle Free Immunizations
  • The Changing Face Of AIDS
  • New Bird Flu Outbreaks As Blogs Fear FEMA Repeat
  • UN Expands Battle Against Bird Flu

  • Florida School Evolution Conflict Delayed
  • No Safe Ground For Life To Stand On During Largest Mass Extinction
  • Species Take Care Of Each Other In Ecological Communities
  • Chinese Ivory Demand Threatens Central Africian Elephants

  • China To Let UN Experts Inspect Toxic Slick
  • Nightmare On Songhua River Shocks China Out Of Eco Complacency
  • Russian Ecologists Warn Of Long Term Threat From Chinese Slick
  • Schools Reopen In Harbin As China Vows To Go All Out To Help Russia

  • Distinct Brain Regions Specialized For Faces And Bodies
  • NSF Funds Probe Of The Quintessence Of Surprise
  • Imaging Technique Visualizes Effects Of Stress On Human Brain
  • New Study Posits Evolutionary Origins Of Two Distinct Types Of Laughter

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement