28 October 2015 - Christian Aid has sent £50,000 to help meet the mounting needs of victims in both Afghanistan and Pakistan after Monday’s earthquake.
More than 382 people are reported dead, mostly in Pakistan, after the magnitude-7.5 earthquake hit north-eastern Afghanistan. At least 2,000 people were injured and the casualty figures will continue to rise as rescuers reach more remote areas.
Madara Hettiarachchi, Head of Humanitarian Programmes for Asia and the Middle East at Christian Aid, said: “In the worst affected areas, most families have been left homeless. Christian Aid is working with partners in Afghanistan and Pakistan to deliver food, hygiene items and emergency shelter. We will also distribute blankets to protect them from the approaching bitter winter months, when temperatures plummet to below freezing.”
Madara added: “From experience, we know that disasters such as earthquakes have a long-term impact on people. An earthquake of this magnitude is likely to cause large scale damage, such as landslides and the destruction of homes and crops, and we are preparing to deal with the bigger picture once the full extent of the damage is assessed and meet the needs of the most vulnerable.”
Aid has started to reach the Badakhshan province in Afghanistan, the epicentre of Monday morning’s earthquake.
However, some routes to affected communities remain blocked, making it hard to assess the full extent of the damage. It will take days to reach affected communities by road and communications appear to have gone down in the worst-affected areas.
Despite this, teams from Christian Aid partner Community World Service Asia (CWSA) are on the ground today, assessing needs and the level of damage in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (KP) in North West Pakistan.
They report widespread destruction. In many districts, most houses have been damaged and are not safe to live in and almost a third totally destroyed.
Aid workers estimate 1.5 million people have been affected in Pakistan alone, statistics for Afghanistan are harder to estimate due to the difficulty in accessing some areas.
Several districts near the epicentre of the 7.5-magnitude earthquake in Afghanistan are conflict-affected, adding to the difficulties of getting help to people.
However Madara explains: “Christian Aid has worked in Afghanistan for over 40 years. We’ve been able to reach the most vulnerable families and have done it under various circumstances over the years by working with experienced local partners. We will look to lean on that local knowledge as we gear up to respond to the current crisis.”
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Notes to editors:
1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.
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