NZ Red Cross: More funds needed in Pakistan
Adequate shelter remains a major issue in earthquake-affected Pakistan, as harsh weather and freezing temperatures hit those already living in tents, New Zealand Red Cross operations manager Andrew McKie says.
Mr McKie, who returned from a donor meeting in Pakistan last week, says Red Cross relief efforts are urgently being scaled up to combat the tough winter conditions.
“The situation on the ground continues to be critical for survivors and relief workers alike. The extremely cold weather is making living conditions very difficult, with temperatures regularly reaching minus 15 degrees Celsius. Torrential rains and heavy snowstorms are hampering efforts, as the main roads regularly become inaccessible due to frequent landslides,”Mr McKie says.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent has increased its appeal to NZ$175 million, which will extend its relief programme to assist an additional 35,000 people. 72.8% of the appeal has been covered so far.
As well as supplying winterised tents, safe heating stoves and repair kits for shelters which have suffered from recent storm damage, the Red Cross will also supply a further 10,000 sheets of corrugated iron.
Health is also becoming an increasing issue due to the conditions, Mr McKie says.
“In the field hospitals we are treating fewer injuries and more illnesses exacerbated by the cold, such as flu and pneumonia, which are on the rise. So far Red Cross Red Crescent medical teams have treated 158,000 people since the earthquake struck.”
New Zealanders have donated over $850,000 to the Pakistan earthquake appeal to date.
Mr McKie says that while New Zealanders should be extremely proud of their response, there is still a great need to help survivors of the earthquake make it through the winter.
“Rebuilding will not be able to begin until the winter conditions pass over, and we need to ensure that those affected survive. So far New Zealand donations have helped the Red Cross to supply relief to 510,000 people, but they and others we have not yet reached will continue to need ongoing support,” he says.
Donations to the South Asia earthquake appeal can be made by calling 0900 33 200 to make an automatic $20 donation, or on-line at: