Mountain Rapid Response Teams Carry Out Relief Operations, Disaster Response Training

IOM Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) have become operational in six
earthquake-affected districts of North West Frontier Province
(NWFP) and Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PAK), carrying out relief
operations, providing medical assistance and training local
communities in disaster preparedness to improve their ability to
quickly respond to emergencies.

The project, supported by American International Group Disaster
Relief Fund, focuses on urgent needs assessments, disaster
preparedness training for civil society and relevant government
officials and emergency winter relief and rescue operations.

The RRT based in the Kaghan Valley of NWFP is already tackling a
variety of challenges. These have included the recent rescue of
four officials from the German NGO GTZ, who were stranded in Babu
Sar Top for 15 hours, following the breakdown of their vehicle in
heavy snow.

The three international staff and a Pakistani colleague were
taken to the IOM team’s base camp in Malakandi, before
proceeding to Islamabad.

The same RRT provided medical aid to three people injured in a
road accident earlier this week. A public bus rammed into a
mountain due to brake failure, injuring a man, a woman and a
5-year-old child.

In the Neelum Valley of PAK, the RRT this week provided first
aid and first response training to some 380 Grade 7 to 10 students
and 20 teachers in the Girls and Boys High Schools in Rush Pian, a
village located at more than 5000ft.

“If we had had this kind of training and information
before, we could have helped wounded people following the
earthquake,” said Kinza, a 9th grader, after the training.
“Now I won’t be afraid to see an injured person and can
help anybody in distress.”

From an initial six base camps in Sirin, Kaghan and Allai
valleys of NWFP and the Neelum and Jhelum valleys and Muzaffarabad
in PAK, the RRTs have carried out quick assessments of relevant
areas, mobilizing NGOs, community members, local government
officials and the civil society.

“As the assessment phase nears completion, we are
concentrating more on first aid and basic life support
trainings,” says John Sampson, RRT programme manager and head
of the IOM sub-office in Muzaffarabad. “The disaster
preparedness initiatives will help people work with our teams to
collectively deal with emergency situations when the winter proper
sets in.”

The October 2005 earthquake in Pakistan’s mountainous
northern areas killed over 73,000 people and left some 3.5 million

For more information, please contact:

Saleem Rehmat

IOM Islamabad

Tel. +92 .300 85 65 967

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