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Pakistan - Disease breaks out in quake zone

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  • Pakistan - Disease breaks out in quake zone

    Disease breaks out in quake zone <TABLE style="WIDTH: 405px; HEIGHT: 44px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=caption style="WIDTH: 360px">
    October 31 2008 at 12:13PM</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    Wam, Pakistan - Hundreds of children left homeless by a devastating earthquake in southwest Pakistan are suffering from potentially life-threatening dysentery and pneumonia, a health official said on Friday.

    The outbreak of disease comes two days after up to 300 people were killed and scores more were injured by the 6.4-magnitude earthquake in impoverished Baluchistan province.

    "Due to the cold hundreds of children are being treated for pneumonia, abdominal diseases, diarrhoea and chest problems," the district health officer of the stricken hill town of Ziarat, Ayub Kakar, told AFP.

    He said there was still a shortage of vital tents, blankets and clothes for people sleeping in the open in villages near Ziarat, as temperatures plunged below zero as winter sets in.
    We fear the death toll will rise. Such diseases, if not treated in time, are life-threatening," Kakar said, adding that there was a shortage of medicines and antibiotics in the region.

    He said children formed the majority of the population in the area, estimating that between 25 000 and 30 000 of them were affected.

    "Many women have not been taken to local dispensaries and hospitals because of the conservative society. That's why we are sending our teams to them to the affected areas to treat women and children," Kakar said.

    Many children were also psychologically affected by the quake, he said.

    The Pakistani military said it had provided tents, blankets and food to about 25 000 affected people in the devastated villages of Wam, Tungi and Gogi, with another 15 000 set to get relief goods later on Friday.

    "Nobody will be without tents, blankets and food rations today," Major Khan Mohammed of the paramilitary Frontier Corps told AFP.

    Colonel Shahzada Khan said the International Committee of the Red Cross had sent 5 000 relief kits, each consisting of one tent and 15 days' rations for a family of five.

    "An aerial survey is still being conducted by helicopters in far-flung areas to locate the affected people," said Shahzada, also from the Corps. - AFP

  • #2
    Re: Pakistan-Disease breaks out in quake zone

    Cold and hungry quake children start to sicken
    * Villagers near Ziarat say they have not heard from authorities or aid groups
    * Say children do not have adequate clothes, ‘gravely exposed to weather’ * Locals say they were waiting for help, have no tent, food, medicine

    KAN BANGLA: Veiled mothers huddled with feverish babies in ruined villages on Thursday, as sickness started to bite earthquake survivors in Balochistan who spent a freezing night under open skies.

    In crumbled settlements that no aid workers had reached more than a day after the powerful quake that killed at least 215 people, shivering residents begged for shelter, food, medicine - or just any help at all.

    "We had so few blankets to cover ourselves during the night that we only had one for six children," farmer Shahnawaz Khan told an AFP reporter, who reached the remote village of Kan Bangla. "The cold was so severe that some of our children have fallen ill," he said, pointing to some wailing infants as their mothers tried to provide them with warmth and comfort.

    Authorities: Khan said some 20 people died when their mud-brick, straw-roofed homes collapsed in the quake, but said they had not had any contact from authorities or aid groups. The village, which lies about 35 kilometres from the historic hill town of Ziarat, is one of a cluster in impoverished Balochistan province that were worst affected by the quake. Jaan Baba, an injured elderly man, showed makeshift tents that villagers had constructed with whatever they could scavenge from the shells of their houses.

    Clothing: "Some of the children do not even have sweaters or shoes and are very gravely exposed to the weather," he told AFP.

    "Many of our villagers slept in a dry riverbed across the road. No one from the government or any rescue agencies have come to help us," Baba said, he said, adding, "We need shelter, blankets, food and medical help as soon as possible." Most of the inhabitants eke out a living by working at apple farms, for which Ziarat and its surrounding villages are famed in Pakistan, but Baba said they would now be busy just trying to survive.

    Wait: Survivors huddled around weak campfires in Kawaz, another devastated village.

    "It was so cold at night we thought we would freeze," villager Abdul Qadeer told AFP. "We have been waiting for help but we have no tent, no food, no medicine for my children," he said.

    Fears of further aftershocks kept many people in the open overnight even when their houses were still standing. A 6.2-magnitude tremor rocked the province 13 hours after the initial, pre-dawn quake. Ziarat District Mayor Dilawar Kakar hit out at the government for failing to help survivors, "I am not satisfied with this operation." "We are not getting the help we expected from provincial and federal governments. It is very slow," he complained. People form the village Gogi, about 60 kilometres from Ziarat, decided not to wait for help, instead, they travelled to Quetta to draw attention to their plight. "The problem is that Gogi is situated five kilometres off the road. A few volunteers came and left but delivered nothing," villager Mohammad Mateen told reporters.

    As with the 2005 earthquake that killed 74,000 people in northern Pakistan, it was hardline groups that were among the first on the scene. One of them, Jamaatud Dawa, has been listed by the US as a ‘terrorist organisation’ because it is a political wing of the outlawed Kashmiri group Laskhar-e-Tayyaba.

    Its officials were handing out blankets, food, milk and biscuits in the area as early as Wednesday night. "We do not believe in politics but to serve the people when they need it the most," Mohammad Qasim, a local Jamaatud Dawa official told AFP. afp


    • #3
      Re: Pakistan-Disease breaks out in quake zone

      Fears for Pakistan quake children as disease spreads

      31/10/2008 15h56

      More than 70,000 have been left homeless after the quake destroyed their villages
      ŠAFP - Aamir Qureshi

      WAM, Pakistan (AFP) - Disease has begun to spread among earthquake survivors in southwest Pakistan on Friday, as the UN expressed fears for tens of thousands of children and women still desperately waiting for relief supplies.
      Aid began reaching devastated villages in mountainous Baluchistan province, more than two days after the 6.4-magnitude quake struck, killing up to 300 people and leaving 70,000 homeless, including 30,000 children.
      A Pakistani earthquake survivor walks past relief goods near a makeshift camp in Wam
      ŠAFP - Aamir Qureshi

      But angry villagers in remote areas said they desperately needed shelter, with thousands of people whose mud-brick homes were flattened facing a third night sleeping in the open in sub-zero temperatures.
      The UN Children's Fund said they and Pakistani government officials assessed the situation in the worst-hit districts and were "concerned about the urgent needs of children and women".
      A map locating the epicentre of a 6.4-magnitude quake that struck southwestern Pakistan

      "With winter closing in, the most urgent needs of the survivors are shelter, safe drinking water, food, warm clothing and emergency medical assistance," a UNICEF statement said.
      Clean water was a "priority", it said, adding that children were especially vulnerable to diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera.
      The district health officer of the stricken hill town of Ziarat, Ayub Kakar, told AFP that children were already suffering from exposure to the harsh conditions.
      "Due to the cold hundreds of children are being treated for pneumonia, abdominal diseases, diarrhoea and chest problems," he said.
      "We fear the death toll will rise. Such diseases, if not treated in time, are life-threatening," Kakar said.
      UNICEF has warned that the quake survivors need shelter, safe drinking water, food, warm clothing and medical assistance
      ŠAFP - Aamir Qureshi

      Children could be seen running after cars on the road adjoining the affected areas begging for food and drink, witnesses said.
      Residents in the quake-hit village of Khanozai, near Ziarat, blocked the main road in protest at the lack of relief goods despite government pledges to help them, an AFP reporter saw.
      "Our children are dying, help us," cried Mohammad Khan, the owner of an apple orchard.
      Pakistani earthquake survivors sit on the rubble of the collapsed houses in Wam
      ŠAFP - Aamir Qureshi

      In another village, Ahmadoon, people said they were making tents from scavenged clothing.
      "No one from the government has so far inquired about our welfare," said Allah Noor, a teacher.
      "Our children could not sleep during the night because of the cold and continued tremors shaking the mountains. People do not go to their damaged houses even to take out food because they fear more tremors," Noor said.
      Pakistani earthquake survivors load relief supplies distributed by the army at a hilly area of Kawaz
      ŠAFP - Aamir Qureshi

      Military and paramilitary troops have provided more than 2,000 tents and 15 tonnes of food rations, Major General Mohammed Khan said, adding more would arrive in the coming days, but warned that reconstruction could take months.
      The US government said it was sending one million dollars in aid while 100 billion dollars had been pledged by Saudi Arabia.
      But on the ground, Islamist militant groups found favour in remote villages, distributing food, medicine and shelter, finding their strong faith a help in the deeply conservative area.
      Pakistani relatives search for earthquake victims amongst the debris of the collapsed houses
      ŠAFP - Aamir Qureshi

      One of them, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, has been listed by the United States as a "terrorist organisation" because it is the political wing of the outlawed Kashmiri militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
      The organisation was also among the first on the scene after the 2005 earthquake in northern Pakistan that killed 73,000 people.
      A Jamaat-ud-Dawa volunteer, who gave his name as Abu Abdullah, insisted however that they were not playing politics at a time of suffering and vulnerability.
      Pakistani earthquake survivors make bread at a makeshift camp in Ziarat
      ŠAFP - Asif Hassan

      "We believe in serving people," said the 40-year-old, a veteran of the mujahideen insurgency against the Soviet army in Afghanistan in the 1980s and the Kashmir conflict, told AFP.
      "We are not doing any politics here and we are making every effort to provide relief to the survivors."


      • #4
        Re: Pakistan-Disease breaks out in quake zone

        ...Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has sent two truckloads of life-saving medicines to quake-affected areas in Ziarat and Pishin.


        • #5
          Re: Pakistan-Disease breaks out in quake zone

          UN to assist nearly 20,000 quake survivors
          UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations is stepping up efforts to assist around 20,000 people displaced by the earthquake that struck Balochistan on Wednesday.

          A UN statement said it would provide the immediate requirements including access to food and water, health services and shelter.

          The World Health Organisation (WHO) is sending two truckloads of medicine and supplies for 50,000 people to the most-affected districts of Ziarat and Pishin, the statement said.

          The agency is also sending trauma supplies stored at the UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Dubai to treat 400 people. The two affected areas remain accessible for convoys carrying relief supplies and the rural health centre in the town of Kawaz in Ziarat is functioning as the referral hospital.

          The WHO is also concerned about low immunisation coverage in the region, especially for measles and tetanus. The agency and its UN partners are carrying out field assessments in the region to obtain a clearer picture of health needs.

          Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) is planning to provide 700 tonnes of dry food rations, including wheat flour, pulses, oil and salt to the affected communities.

          "We need to move fast, so we are going to start distributing food stocks from our warehouses in Quetta and Peshawar, so we can reach the people who need it the most," said WFP Pakistan Country Director Wolfgang Herbinger adding that the agency would be co-ordinating its response with the government and other UN agencies. A spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday issued a statement in which the UN chief expressed grief and offered his condolences to the families of the quake victims. app