Gift of the Givers Responds to Pakistan Earthquake
Following the 7.7 magnitude earthquake in Balochistan, Pakistan, on Tuesday, 24 September 2013, Gift of the Givers had fifty volunteers, comprising Search and Rescue experts, dog handlers, and Trauma Specialists, on standby to depart for the disaster zone. No call was made for international assistance.
On Saturday, 28 September 2013, the area was struck by a second earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale. Once again specialists teams were not required given that the majority of the dwellings are mud houses. However, the need for the provision of urgent supplies is huge as thousands are displaced, hundreds are injured and many have lost their lives possessions. The earning capacity of most of these inhabitants is extremely low. Balochistan is Pakistan's largest but poorest province.
Supplies including lentils, milk, sugar, tea, rice and flour were procured on Sunday, 29 October 2013, and on Monday, 30 October 2013, the Gift of the Givers team departed on the hazardous and ardous journey to Awaran, 333km away, an area where killings are commonplace given the unrest between the government and tribal people. To minimise the security risk the team was accompanied by the local chief of Awaran, Mir Javed Hasani.
The journey took the team from Karachi-Uthal-Bela-Sanglakh. The vehicles broke down on the rocky roads through the mountains of Sanglakh. From here it was on to Tehsil Jhao and finally Awaran, the epicentre of the earthquake. The devastation was huge, houses were in ruins, children were crying, hungry and thirsty and women were pleading for help. The region was in need of a major injection of emergency aid.
The gratitude was overwhelming even though we had a paucity of supplies. This was a trial run to test the security and the terrain. The full scale response follows this weekend. Food, blankets, clothing, water, mattresses and various items for babies will be delivered. Thanks to those who made contributions already. Many have called to support the poor people of Balochistan. You may use the bank account: Gift of the Givers, Standard Bank, Pietermaritzburg, Account number 052278611, Branch code 057525, reference Pakistan. Please fax or email deposit slip with contact details. Call toll-free 0800786911.