The IRC Helps Northwest Pakistan Prepare for Winter
Winter is fast approaching in Pakistan's disaster-stricken North-West Frontier Province. Just prior to the one-year commemoration of the Oct. 8, 2005 earthquake, which devasted the region, the International Rescue Committee helped 620 families in Jabba Camp prepare for the season by providing them with winter bedding kits.
Local authorities in the district of Mansehra established the camp to shelter people displaced by the earthquake and the torrential monsoon rains that followed.
"First I lost everything in the quake, and then all I had salvaged from the wreckage of my house got washed away in the floods," recalls Husan Jan, a mother of five. "Allah must be really angry with me."
The bedding kits will go a long way toward keeping her family warm, she says. Each kit includes quilts, blankets, a mat, plastic sheeting and shawls, as well as soap and washing detergent.
Camp manager Asghar Khalid says he appreciates the IRC's contribution. "Mostly we got only empty promises" in response to requests for aid, he says. "I thank IRC for keeping its word and delivering in time."
The IRC's earthquake response has focused on helping survivors in their own communities rather than in camps, which are generally well-served by aid organizations. However, at the request of local authorities, the IRC sent a team to Jabba to assess the needs of survivors there. The team determined that more warm bedding and clothing were needed to help these families endure the extreme cold typical of the region in the months ahead.
Bibi Jan, an elderly woman standing beside her orphaned grandson, beams when she receives a bedding kit. "I cannot thank you enough!" she exclaims. "This is all I have got. At least now we will be comfortable in winter."