2008 Pakistan earthquake

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Pakistan: earthquakes met with immediate humanitarian response

A series of strong earthquakes shook western Pakistan in the early morning hours of October 29, killing more than 160 people, leveling thousands of homes and displacing more than 17,000 people, according to early reports.

The Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) responded immediately dispatching four highly trained disaster assessment teams to affected communities. Emergency supplies including tents, blankets, plastic sheeting, and coal burning stoves for 300 families have been sent to the area, as have two mobile health teams. These teams include doctors, specialists, and Red Cross Red Crescent volunteers. 

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has two teams on the ground, who are assessing needs and the situation. They say many residents will spend the night outdoors in the cold because they are frightened by the continuing aftershocks. The ICRC will also send medical kits to the region and a surgical and medical team will fly from Peshawar on Thursday.

The ICRC is working closely with the Pakistan Red Crescent and stands ready to step up its humanitarian response. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is also sending a support team to the region, including a disaster management expert, a health specialist and an information officer.

The Red Cross is coordinating their efforts to ensure that the humanitarian needs of those impacted by these earthquakes are addressed quickly and effectively.

Canadians wishing to help support earthquake response activities are encouraged to contribute by donating online, calling 1-800-418-1111 or contacting their local Red Cross office. Cheques should be made payable to the Canadian Red Cross, earmarked “2008 Pakistan Earthquake” and mailed to the Canadian Red Cross National Office, 400 Cooper Street, Suite 8000, Ottawa, Ontario K2P 2H8.

In-kind donations of food, clothing and other items, while well intentioned, are not the best way to help those in need. There are tremendous processing and transportation costs involved in shipping these items to beneficiaries. Local purchases of food and clothing are more culturally appropriate and effective. Red Cross supplies can be purchased in the immediate area, thereby reducing transportation costs. Cash transfers to the affected region provide the optimum flexibility to our Red Cross colleagues so they can meet the most urgent needs.