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Upscaling of Humanitarian Aid Underway


Islamabad, 11, October: Search and rescue still remains the priority in the aftermath of the earthquake, however there is an immediate need to upscale the relief efforts to meet the immediate humanitarian needs.

The UN is readying an airlift of vitamin-fortified food for 240,000 earthquake victims and is sending in convoys of trucks with emergency supplies ranging from blankets to water purification equipment.

The UN Office of Project Services (UNOPS) will also provide three helicopters for both dropping relief items and evacuating victims form remote parts of Azad Kashmir and the Northern Areas.

The recovery efforts have been slowed by bad weather and large parts of the region are still inaccessible because of landslides have destroyed the road network. The international community is working in close coordination with the Government to escalate the delivery of food and medical supplies to the affected area. Initial assessments for the recovery process have also begun and indicate that the process will require huge investments in infrastructure and housing and may take three to five years.

Mr Jan Vandemoortele, UN Resident Coordinator in Pakistan, during a visit to the earthquake stricken district of Muzafarabad said "There are enormous logistical difficulties in the region: landslides have cut off many roads, allowing access only by foot or helicopter. Slowly, roads to the most affected areas are being opened, but remote areas still remain out of reach.

The immediate priorities highlighted by local people are food, petrol, electricity, manpower and communications devices. There is an urgent need for tents to house the people, especially winterised tents in the northern areas as the temperatures are beginning to drop. Medical care is also in critical need as most of the hospitals in the affected areas have been destroyed.

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