24 July 2009
David Bebber/The TimesAs the volatile situation in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province continues, the Red Cross has helped around one million people recover from the devastating earthquake which struck the area on 8 October 2005.
The recent escalation of fighting caused more than two million people to flee their homes – making this the largest displacement of people worldwide for 15 years. And just four years ago, an earthquake, which severely affected Pakistan-administered Kashmir and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), killed more than 73,000 people, leaving more than 3.5 million homeless. It was one of the deadliest disasters in the region in living memory.
In the aftermath of the quake, the British Red Cross launched a fundraising appeal and, along with contributions from the Disasters Emergency Committee and Department for International Development, raised £20.1 million. These funds contributed to the response of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, bringing life-saving support to the affected people.
Challenges to recoveryBRC
The British Red Cross earthquake recovery programme
has now finished and has provided drinking water to four extremely remote mountainous villages in the NWFP. Materials were also provided to support improvements to water supplies in two more villages.
Fiona McSheehy, programme officer, said: “We have been working with the Pakistan Red Crescent to help people recover in very complex circumstances with challenging security issues. Our work has concentrated on helping marginalised communities in the hardest to reach areas – some of which are impossible to reach by vehicle.”
As well as providing clean water, the British Red Cross has promoted health and hygiene awareness to over 1,200 women across four villages in the NWFP. We also supported the rebuilding of a girls’ middle school in Kashmir for 250 pupils.
Current humanitarian crisis
The economy has been severely disrupted and houses damaged or destroyed by the current humanitarian crisis. As families begin returning home they face massive challenges.
The British Red Cross launched the Pakistan Crisis Appeal on 17 June, and funds are still urgently needed to help those, who have lost so much, get back on their feet.
Read more about the Pakistan Crisis Appeal
Read stories from people we helped recover after the earthquake