Radio Hotline Assists Earthquake Survivors

Posted: 
01/16/06

Several days of heavy snow and rain that have badly hampered aid
distributions in earthquake-affected Pakistan and grounded
helicopters since 15 January, are also causing continued misery for
survivors.

In a bid to provide extra support for quake survivors during the
inclement weather, IOM has enlisted 100 volunteers to staff Rapid
Response Teams in Muzaffarabad to answer calls for urgent
assistance.

Through round-the-clock announcements on Power99 FM and Azad
Kashmir Radio, IOM received more than 250 ‘hotline’
emergency calls on Sunday alone in Muzaffarabad. The 10 teams
deployed erected collapsed tents, provided 700 tarpaulins to cover
the tents and replaced wet blankets.

Other international relief organizations are now also
implementing the idea of rapid response teams in other humanitarian
hubs set up across the quake zone.

IOM also assisted five teams from the Muzaffarabad Municipal
Water and Sanitation Department by providing 500 tarpaulins,
generators, suction pumps, motors and pipes to drain rainwater from
spontaneous and unplanned tent settlements.

Today, IOM will be distributing 2000 winterized kits supplied by
Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) in
Muzaffarabad city to add to the 400 shelter kits, 450 blankets and
600 jerry cans handed out in the last two days in Merasaru, Gohri
and Machiara union councils. The kits contain blankets, tarpaulins,
plastic sheets and rope to provide extra protection for those
living in non-winterized tents.

Through the IOM-initiated Kala Dhaka Coordination Council - and
with data collected from the Pakistan government rapid assessments
- 170,000 people from the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA)
of Kala Dhaka are beginning to receive large amounts of shelter
equipment.

Assisted by NGO Partner Aid International, IOM has delivered a
total of 15,000 blankets, 1000 shelter kits, 7,600 corrugated
galvanized iron (CGI) sheets and 2,800 children kits of hats,
coats, mittens and scarves to Kala Dhaka.

In the next two weeks, IOM will coordinate the distribution of a
large UNICEF consignment of 242,000 blankets, 170,000 children
kits, and 9,000 quilts to Kala Dhaka.

Meanwhile, despite the bad weather and landslides and several
previous attempts, nine 9 IOM heavy trucks carrying CGI sheets and
other non-food items have finally managed to get through to Bana in
the Allai valley, where shelter assistance is still needed.

Elsewhere in Batagram district, a local NGO, Sangi, is today
distributing another 1,800 shelter kits, 180 sleeping bags, 350
blankets and 2,000 winter jackets provided by IOM in Shamlai.

The deteriorating winter conditions are adding to the trauma of
earthquake survivors. To help people mentally cope, IOM and the
Pakistan Ministry of Health (MoH) jointly held a two-day workshop
for psychosocial support workers at H-11 camp near Islamabad.
Psychiatrist William H. McGhee from the Loma Linda University in
California and Professor Rizwan Taj from the MoH, trained 40 IOM
mental health team members, social workers, teachers and doctors
who are providing post-earthquake treatment.

IOM Mental Health field teams are working in Dheerkot in Bagh,
Maira camp in Batagram, and in H-11 camp in Islamabad. Out of a
total of 4186 people visited, 617 (14.7 percent) were diagnosed as
patients in need of care. Women and children have higher levels of
depression and anxiety and remain a focus for outreach and
treatment.

Last week’s Eid ul Adha holiday was particularly difficult
for some survivors.

“Holidays are a problem after a disaster,” says IOM
Batagram psychologist, Falik Niaz. “I saw many people in the
hospital wards weeping during Eid ul Fitr a month after the
earthquake. This holiday was a bit better for people, but
depression is common when families gather together and many members
are noticeably missing.”

For further information, please contact:

Saleem Rehmat

IOM Islamabad

Tel: + 92 300 856 0341

Email: "mailto:srehmat@iom.int" target="_blank" title=
"">srehmat@iom.int

© IOM 2006