January 16, 2006
100 days on, Pakistan quake survivors under constant threat
Cold and disease are constant threats in Pakistan's earthquake zone but the United Nations said on Saturday if donations are sustained, the more than three million survivors should make it through the winter. Monday marks 100 days since the quake killed more than 73,000 people.
By Robert Birsel
Sat Jan 14, 8:41 AM ET
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Cold and disease are constant threats in Pakistan's earthquake zone but the United Nations said on Saturday if donations are sustained, the more than three million survivors should make it through the winter.
"One hundred days into the process all is not well," chief UN relief coordinator Jan Vandemoortele told a news conference marking 100 days since the quake killed more than 73,000 people.
"The survivors remain under constant threat and coughs, respiratory infection and pneumonia are widespread," he said.
More than two million people are camping out in tents or in simple shelters in the Himalayas but, so far, the huge relief effort organized by the Pakistani army and international agencies has averted a second wave of deaths.
The United Nations was concerned about people living at high altitudes, and those in unorganized tent settlements that have sprung up across the region, Vandemoortele said.
Many survivors needed more corrugated iron sheets to help them build shelters as well as more blankets, he said.
Although the winter has so far been benign with only several days of heavy snow and rain at the start of January, the threat of freezing temperatures and deep snow hangs over the region.
"TEST IS ON"
Good weather through December allowed the army and aid agencies to pre-position more supplies in the mountains than had been expected.
Most of the 400,000 people in the highest, most remote settlements had food stocks for at least a couple of months, so food should not be a problem, a UN World Food Programme official said.
The relief effort had only received $321 million of the $550 million it had sought for a six-month emergency relief effort, which is costing about $2 million a day, Vandemoortele said.
"The test is still on. Cash and coordination remain critical," he said. "If the current rate of donation is sustained we will be able, we believe, to achieve the goal of getting the people through the winter."
A senior UN Children's Fund official said outbreaks of disease had been averted but the cold remained a huge danger.
"No major outbreak of communicable disease has occurred," said UNICEF's director in Pakistan, Omar Abdi.
Between 10,000 and 15,000 children had been orphaned in the quake but virtually all of them were being cared for by members of their extended families, he said.
FAIR USE NOTICE:
This page contains copyrighted material the use of which
has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.
GlobalIssues.Net distributes this material without profit
to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving
the included information for research and educational purposes.
We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted
material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.
World Revolution is an idea for a new, global grassroots
social movement for progressive social change. It aims
to resolve in a definitive and comprehensive manner
the major social problems of our world and our era.
Millions on the brink of starvation in Horn of Africa - UN
Six million people are on the brink of starvation in the Horn of Africa region due to severe drought, crop failure and depletion of livestock herds, the United Nations said on Friday. The U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that in Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia more than 11 million people are estimated to be in need of assistance.