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World Vision Responds to Devastating Earthquake

World Vision Responds to Devastating Earthquake

'Can you help us bury our dead?' survivors asking aid agency

World Vision, the international Christian humanitarian organisation, is sending assessment teams to three of the most severely damaged areas of Pakistan and India affected by today's earthquake.

"The situation is desperate, several villages have been decimated," says Sigurd Hanson, World Vision director in Pakistan. "The people I've spoken to have asked World Vision for relief supplies and burial cloths, saying, 'We know you. Can you help us bury our dead?"

Working along side other humanitarian organisations, the World Vision teams will be conducting assessments in Mansehra, Kashmir and the Shangla and Kohistan districts, Hanson said.

"I feel the aftershocks as I sit here trying to contact my staff in the north," Hanson said. "What complicates things is that it's remote and the roads are most likely destroyed."

World Vision has been working with local communities in northern Pakistan for two years in response to a series of natural disasters, including flooding, severe snowstorms and landslides.

Helen Green, CEO of World Vision New Zealand said the agency will commit $50,000 up front as an immediate initial response from New Zealand. "It's another tragedy for a region that is continually reeling from both natural and man-made disasters," she said.

As with similar disasters, the immediate needs for survivors include blankets, food, water and medicines. All items are available for purchase locally, Hanson said.

WV has worked in Pakistan in the 1980's and closed its programmes in Pakistan due to political instability. The offices were re-opened in 2001 and staff have been engaged in health and other relief activities.

To donate to World Vision New Zealand's appeal for the Pakistan earthquake, please phone 0800 80 2000.

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