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Situation update: Asia Earthquake, 5 October 2006

Thursday October 5, 2006

Background information
A 7.6 magnitude earthquake, centred 95 km northeast of Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, struck at 08:50 local time (03:50 GMT) on 8 October 2005. Tremors were felt across the region from the Afghan capital of Kabul to the Indian capital of New Delhi.

In Pakistan, the worst affected areas were the North West Frontier Province and Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The government of Pakistan says over 73,000 people lost their lives and approximately 128,000 were injured. More than 3.5 million people were left homeless.

Homes destroyed
The earthquake damaged or destroyed over 400,000 homes. The Pakistan government is overseeing the reconstruction of the majority of permanent housing and is leading an owner-driven construction scheme, which allows individuals to rebuild their own homes through cash grants, which are being distributed in four different instalments. So far, 560,000 households have received a first instalment intended for emergency shelter use. The remaining reconstruction payments from the government are ongoing. The United Nations estimates that 66,000 families (over 460,000 people) will face the upcoming winter without permanent shelter.

Approximately 900 camps were established by the government, United Nations and non-governmental organisations to accommodate around 300,000 internally displaced people. As of the end of August, just over 32,000 people remained in 45 camps. Most of the remaining displaced people are in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, where an estimated 27,700 people are living in 41 camps.

Schools and health facilities also devastated
Approximately 6,300 schools were damaged or destroyed in the earthquake-affected area. One year after the quake almost 90 percent of these institutions are now operational, though many are still outdoors or in temporary structures, such as tents. Approximately 850 teachers and 18,000 students were killed in the quake.

Almost 50 per cent of the 800 health facilities in the area affected by the disaster were destroyed, while another 25 per cent were damaged.

Red Cross responds
The overall response to the disaster has been a combined effort by the whole of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

Red Cross emergency response efforts have been concentrated in the North West Frontier Province. The emergency response in Pakistan-administered Kashmir was led by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Pakistan Red Crescent. Australian Red Cross supported the emergency response in both quake-affected areas by providing personnel, resources and funding.

Appeal for funding not covered
Despite significant contributions, more funds are still needed to cover all the needs of people impacted by the Pakistan earthquake. You can still make a secure online donation to the Asia Earthquake Appeal 2005.

Australian Red Cross aid workers
By September 2006, Australian Red Cross had deployed 25 aid workers to assist with emergency, recovery and rehabilitation projects in Pakistan. These expert humanitarian workers specialise in fields including health, logistics, water and sanitation, shelter coordination, and tracing of missing persons.

Red Cross Operations to date
Red Cross has contributed significantly to emergency relief, and increasingly, rehabilitation and recovery efforts in Pakistan. In the first 12 months of the emergency, Australian Red Cross has contributed more than AUD$7.81 million to these operations.