Heavy snowfall, torrential rain, avalanches and landslides have swept across the country, with the regions of Azad Jammu, Kashmir (AJK) and Baluchistan worst affected. At least 96 people have been killed and more than 130,000 families affected, isolating locals in remote parts of AJK. This figure is likely to increase as relief teams attempt to reach the worst affected areas.
With the worst snowfall for over 20 years, the minimum temperature in Quetta, Baluchistan has dropped to -11◦C. The nearby districts of Kalat and Ziarat have also recorded -10◦C and -13◦C as temperatures remain drastically low making families extremely vulnerable and in dire need of help.
The Islamic Relief team in Pakistan is coordinating with government agencies to gain access to isolated areas in the Neelum valley and across Baluchistan to provide urgent assistance. This will include safe drinking water, temporary shelters as well as immediate life-saving relief.
Heavier snowfall has been forecast over the next few days making relief efforts challenging and is likely to worsen the current emergency situation. The full extent of damage will be known in the coming days.
Islamic Relief has launched an emergency appeal for up to £2 million. The charity is working closely with local authorities to address the immediate needs of those affected and aims to reach the most vulnerable, such as those who are badly injured, disabled people, pregnant women, babies and the elderly.
Tufail Hussain, Director of Islamic Relief UK, said:
What we are witnessing is an unprecedented weather phenomenon, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in this part of Pakistan for over 20 years. Communities have been isolated and homes destroyed due to avalanches. Thousands are now facing the elements without any kind of protection. Our teams are liaising with the National Disaster Management Authority to provide urgent assistance to the people affected by this disaster.
We have a very strong presence in Pakistan, having worked there since 1992. We have responded to countless disasters over the years. We are now determined to do as much as we can to help the survivors of this emergency. With worsening weather conditions predicted, this is a race against time to reach the worst affected communities.
In addition to supporting the rescue efforts, we will be delivering food, water and essential household items. We will also repair water systems so that people have access to safe water.
For more info, photos and interviews in Pakistan and the UK contact Sultan Ahmed on firstname.lastname@example.org; or call +44 207 5933 217, +7471 033 566
Notes to Editor
To donate to Islamic Relief Pakistan Winter Emergency Appeal, please go to:
£30 could provide blankets
£100 could feed two families for a month
£200 could provide a family with a shelter kit
About Islamic Relief
Islamic Relief is a faith-inspired, development and humanitarian agency working to transform and save the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in over 40 countries. Islamic Relief assists people according to need and does not discriminate in any way.
Islamic Relief has worked in Pakistan since 1992. The quality of our response to the 2005 earthquake was formally recognised by the government of Pakistan. We extended our relief and rehabilitation operations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during the displacement crisis of 2009, and delivered extensive emergency responses to the devastating floods that hit swathes of the country in 2010 and 2011.
Set up in Birmingham in 1984 by a group of volunteers, we have assisted over 117 million people all over the world. We’re saving lives and empowering people to lift themselves out of poverty in over 40 countries – from Bangladesh to Bosnia, Pakistan to Palestine, Kenya to Kosovo. Islamic Relief is on the ground in some of the world’s most dangerous and difficult places – including Syria and Yemen – strengthening the most marginalised communities to withstand conflict and natural disasters and to build a brighter future. We also support vulnerable people in the UK in partnership with local charities and organisations.