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An Ongoing Effort to Reach Earthquake Survivors

International organizations and countries continue to pour in their donations and supplies for the survivors, who are fighting against the approaching winter season.
( [email protected] ) Oct 17, 2005 06:57 PM EDT

International organizations and countries continue to pour in their donations and supplies for the survivors, who are fighting against the approaching winter season.

Addressing the key concerns in the relief effort, the United Nations, who has proposed to raise 272 million dollars for the South Asia earthquake, will hold a conference in Geneva on Oct 24, according to AFP (Agence News France).

Elizabeth Byrs, a spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) told AFP that the conference will gather ministers from Pakistan, donor countries, international aid agencies and relief groups to plan how they can utilize their efforts for the "most critical needs."

Access to remote mountainous roads still remains a key concern, but as the winter approaches, officials in Pakistan said that there are not enough tents for the millions of homeless survivors.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Maj. Gen. Farooq Ahmad Khan, the Pakistani relief commissioner said that, so far, 29,000 tents have been distributed with 118,000 blankets, but he estimates that 100,000 tents are needed in the quake zone.

Large Christian relief organizations such as World Vision, the Salvation Army, and Food for the Hungry has already distributed winterized tents, blankets and food and are setting up funds for more support in the relief effort.

Meanwhile, Major Commanding Officer Ronald Toy, who oversees the Salvation Army's Asian American Yerba Buena Corps in San Francisco, said that they are trying to collect monetary donations for the Pakistan earthquake which is an ongoing effort to support their international name.

"We send 100 percent of the donations that can be used to replenish the needs," Toy said.

Since the earthquake pulverized whole towns on Oct 8, stories of survivors have given hope to people who are searching for their loved ones, however as time passes that hope dwindles as roads and airlifts are closed due to storms.

Church World Service Pakistan/Afghanistan Director Marvin Parvez said, "We have received beautiful news of four children being rescued from one school," but he said they have also seen "recovered bodies of children being set outside of schools, ready for burial."

Parvez added, "As a parent, this is very difficult to see."

CWS, a Christian relief organization that was one of the first relief agencies on the earthquake scene, said they have distributed food and necessities but stresses that in the long-term, shelter construction materials are needed.

Pakistani officials said on Sunday that the death toll has surpassed 54,000 as more bodies are uncovered in the remote regions, the Associated Press said, while estimating that 40,000 alone came from Kashmir, the hardest hit by the quake.