Relief efforts in Shangla and Kohistan

by BWO, 2016/08/10

In the North of Pakistan humedica runs a project for hazard reduction and reconstruction after the earthquake in 2015 and for survival support after the flooding in the spring of 2016. It is timed go on till the end of 2018 as the need for aid does not diminish.

In Pakistan humedica has already completed numerous aid projects. Three of them were implemented in cooperation with the partner organisation Pak Mission Society (PMS) and supported by the Foreign Office. Two projects in the years 2013 and 2014 were immediate relief measures after floods, the other one in 2014 dealt with reconstruction.

These projects had to be expanded, because assistance is still crucial. Pakistan is heavily affected by often recurring natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and draughts in general. But also the catastrophes made by man like deforestation and desertification cause major problems. The country has also to cope increasingly with the consequences of climate change; furthermore armed conflicts and acts of violence by extremist groups lead to instability and evictions in some areas.

These national challenges mirror in particular at the district level in Shangla, situated in the North of Pakistan. The earthquake in October 2015 affected this district in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa the most. The region is very remote and can only be reached on foot as there is no infrastructure at all. Many villages have been completely cut off from the outside due to landslides.

According to reports of the provincial disaster control authorities not only 80 per cent of the 1.982 injured people, but also 80 per cent of the 279 fatalities come from this area. Innumerable houses were destroyed. The situation further worsened by the onset of winter, which proved to be extraordinary hard in this year bringing on unexpectedly low temperatures and heavy rain leading to severe flooding in the regions named above.

In the partly or completely destroyed houses in this area also many of the simple restroom facilities were damaged or not accessible any more, which led to an increase of open defecation. In consequence, there are more cases of infectious diseases such as gastrointestinal and respiratory disorders.

PMS is the only organisation to support these sub-districts. The relief measures comprise several phases. From March to June 2016 food provisions, household effects and other urgently needed relief supplies such as blankets or health and hygiene sets were distributed. Indigent families from Shangla und Kohistan also received 500 winter-proof tents and tarpaulins.

The aim is to strengthen the resilience of 30 village communities in the Shangla district against future natural disasters by building earthquake-safe houses and offering catastrophe management trainings. Also the livelihood is to be rebuilt by vocational training and the employment of local builders, the installation of water mills and small hydropower plants till 2018. By then 2.500 families will be able to prepare their food accordingly.

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