A powerful earthquake struck southwest Pakistan on Tuesday, demolishing homes and causing hundreds of people to lose their lives and many casualties.
The 7.7-magnitude tremor hit Baluchistan province’s Awaran district, an area prone to quakes and other disasters. ShelterBox was already working with the Asian country’s National Rural Support Programme (NRSP) in the region distributing emergency shelter to families displaced by recent flooding when it struck.
‘We have a history of working with NRSP in emergency situations and recently they have been acting as our implementing partner in Pakistan, distributing ShelterBox disaster relief tents that we had prepositioned in Islamabad to communities left homeless after flash floods,’ said ShelterBox Operations Coordinator Dave Ray.
‘When we received the alert that an earthquake had hit the same region, we immediately made contact with NRSP to see how we could assist. Within hours, the remaining tents stored in Islamabad were loaded onto a truck and are due to arrive later today to the affected area to then be delivered to families who have been left with nothing after the quake.’
Entire villages flattened
There are reports of entire villages being flattened as most of the homes in Awaran are made from mud brick and collapsed easily when the tremors struck. Officials are saying around 90 percent of houses in the district have been completely destroyed.
‘Almost all the mud houses have collapsed,’ said local government official Abdul Rasheed Baluch to the BBC. ‘We have been busy in rescue efforts for the whole night and fear we will recover more dead bodies from under the rubble during daylight.’
Tremors were felt as far away as Delhi in India and Dubai in the Gulf, while workers in other Pakistani cities ran out of buildings in states of panic.
Response teams on the ground
NRSP has emergency response teams on the ground carrying out needs assessments so when the tents arrive they can be distributed to those families most in need as quickly as possible.
‘Having prepositioned ShelterBox aid in Pakistan and a partnership with NRSP enables us time and time again to respond to disasters in the country quickly and efficiently, as seen with this destructive earthquake,’ added Dave. ‘The result is that more people can be helped rapidly at the time when they need it the most.’
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