Remote Allai Valley Targeted For More Shelter Material

Posted: 
01/12/06

Tons of shelter material destined for the Allai valley in
Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province have been unable to
get through as roads have become impassable due to road slides,
snow and ice.

IOM has tried twice since 8 January to send nine trucks to the
Bana distribution point from the Karakorum Highway (KKH) but each
time, the trucks were forced to return without delivering their
expected payload of 3200 corrugated galvanized iron (CGI) sheets,
400 shelter kits, and 400 winterization kits which include
blankets, tarpaulins, plastic sheets and rope. An additional 520
water pipes and 350 latrine sets have been handed over to the
Pakistan Military for delivery to Bana.

The Pakistani Military have reported that Union Councils Bana,
Rashang, Sakargah and Batkool are still in need of additional
shelter goods, specifically CGI sheets for rooftops. Although
17,857 tents have been distributed to Tehsil Allai, the cold
weather and snow is forcing between 140-280 people per day to
migrate to lower elevations and into Maira camp.

According to Major Sherjeel of the 104th Engineering Battalion
based in Batagram, an estimated 14,000 CGI shelters are still
required. He says that by the end of December, 3784 shelters had
been built. In the first week of January, that number almost
doubled to 6762 shelters.

"When our battalion did the initial assessment, we assumed that
one family lived in each destroyed house," said Major Sherjeel.
"When we returned later, we found that there is a joint family
system in the region and that 2 to 5 families were living in each
house. We realized late that there was a greater need than
originally thought."

Complicating the shifting numbers is the movement of people into
camps - and more difficult to see - from destroyed village to
destroyed village. According to both Major Sherjeel and Gul Nawaz,
a madrassa teacher from Rashang village now living in Maira camp,
almost 75 percent of the population from Rashang have moved into
camps, while many people from the more remote Gangwal village have
migrated west to live with those remaining in Tehsil Rashang.

"First we were all living in tents," said Gul Nawaz who is now
Maira camp with 10 relatives. "But when the rain and snow fell,
many decided to leave our village. We were short of food, blankets
and CGI sheets."

It is a five-hour jeep trip from Rashang (past Bana) to the KKH
where the Maira camp is located. According to Gul, some men remain
in the village to care for the village livestock and to protect
their homes. These men have also been regularly visiting their
wives and children in the Maira camp. When the road is closed to
vehicles, they walk over the mountain tops and through the snow for
13 hours.

To help provide information about the shifting population
numbers and to better target shelter aid, the United Nations has
asked IOM to dispatch an additional assistant field coordinator to
Bana.

Additional helicopter sorties have been requested and flown, and
IOM Head of Batagram Field Office Maher Ahmed has put in a priority
request for 20 4x4 jeeps with snow chains that will be tasked to
deliver supplies to Bana. To help the 16,000 people now living in
Maira camp, IOM has delivered a total of 118 winterized tents, 9556
quilts, 492 blankets, 945 kitchen sets and 3020 jerry cans.

The help is welcomed by Gul Nawaz, who said that even though his
family will survive the winter, their future is not certain. "Many
women and children are living with fear in their hearts. Children
are depressed. Frequently they are sorrowful," he added. "If there
are tremors still in the spring, it will be impossible to rebuild.
We hope the government will provide us with good homes."

Meanwhile, as part of its continued efforts to ensure adequate
temporary shelter for quake survivors who are still without it, IOM
has built 75 shelters in the village of Batang village in Balakot
district over the past four days, with an additional 200 shelters
to be built in the village by next week.

IOM has also distributed 12,830 emergency winterization kits,
donated by Britain’s Department for International Development
(DFID) in Bagh, Muzaffarabad, Mansehra, Balakot and Batagram for
those living in non-winterized tents.

Nearly 15,000 structures have been set up with shelter kits
distributed by IOM as part of its operation winter race in
quake-hit areas of Pakistan-administered Kashmir and NWFP. At least
5,360 shelter kits have been distributed in Muzaffarabad, 3,702 in
Batagram, 2,967 in Balakot and 2,773 in Bagh so far. Other non-food
relief items distributed include more than 89,000 blankets, 98,000
quilts and 39,500 items such as kitchen sets, stoves, jerry cans,
mattresses and pillows.

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