Caritas Pakistan earthquake reponse helping to fix broken lives

Three months after the devastating earthquake hit the Central Asian region, Caritas Australia reports significant progress in the relief effort in the mountainous areas of Pakistan to which it is contributing.

Caritas said in a statement yesterday that it is currently working through local partner Caritas Pakistan in the Boi and Dilola regions, situated on the Kashmir border and adjoining the city of Abbotabad. Over 50,000 people live in this region, and approximately half are unable to live in their homes.

"Some of the displaced people have chosen to camp next to their destroyed houses because their fields are important for their livelihoods. Others have chosen to live with host families - relatives or friends - by camping on their land," said Ingvar Anda, a Caritas Australia worker who visited the region during November - December last year.

"It is the preferred option of the affected people in this region that they to stay close to their houses and land or their families, rather than going to larger camps, due to security fears and poor living conditions within the camps."

Caritas is currently the only NGO working in Boi and Dilola, and ensuring adequate living conditions for these people is key priority at present. Well-insulated weatherproof tents large enough to house a family of ten people have been selected as adequate temporary shelter, until reconstruction work can commence in spring. In addition, non-food household items are currently being distributed to the families.

The Caritas health program has benefited many of the locals, with a mobile clinic traveling through the local villages in the region. The clinic has also branched out to Muzzaffrabad, located in the Kashmir province, where the team is currently working.

"Whilst the majority of illnesses and injuries resulting from the earthquake have been treated, the health team has been also treating pre-existing illnesses of the people that have been neglected or unattended over time.

"Our response in Pakistan will continue to develop to other areas as further assessments are made and needs identified," said Mr Anda.

Caritas Australia is still accepting donations for the Central Asia Earthquake Appeal, and will be continuing to support the response as it evolves. Donations can be made by phoning 1800 024 413, on on-line at www.caritas.org.au.

Pictured: Caritas Pakistan health team member Dr Ajmal carries out medical consultations in Neelam Valley, Kashmir.

Caritas Australia earthquake response progresses in Pakistan (Caritas Australia 10/1/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Caritas Australia | Central Asia Earthquake Appeal

Caritas Australia commits $1m to Pakistan emergency response (CathNews 3/11/05)
Caritas launches South Asia Earthquake Appeal (CathNews 11/10/05)

11 Jan 2006