Christian Aid funding emergency relief after deadly earthquakes in Pakistan

Pakistani villagers look for belongings amid the rubble of their destroyed homes following an earthquake in the remote district of Awaran, Baluchistan province, Pakistan, Wednesday, September 25, 2013(AP)

Christian Aid has sent funds to its partner relief agency in Pakistan after two deadly earthquakes hit the south-west of the country in the past week.

At least 400 people were killed when a 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck last Tuesday in Balochistan. A second earthquake followed on Saturday, killing dozens more.

An estimated 300,000 people have been affected across the six districts of Arawan, Kech, Gwadar, Panjgur, Chaghai and Khuzdar, but the death toll is expected to rise as there are fears that people are still trapped under the rubble.

The area is extremely underdeveloped, with most villages having no electricity or communications. Most of the roads have been destroyed by the earthquakes, hampering the delivery of aid.

Christian Aid partner Muslim Hands is using the funds to distribute food, medical kits and tents among 4,500 earthquake survivors.

Neil Garvie, Christian Aid's Emergency Programme Manager said, "There is a desperate need for food and shelter.

"Poor security, prolonged conflict in the area and lack of infrastructure makes it almost impossible to reach the survivors with much needed aid.

"But through our partner Muslim Hands, who has worked in the region for some time, we will be able to reach thousands with help."

The lack of investment in housing in the area means that many homes and buildings were unable to withstand the quakes.

An estimated 90 per cent of housing in Arawan District alone is believed to have been destroyed.

Long-term help for survivors will include building stronger houses that are more resistant to disaster.

Irfan Khan, Muslim Hands Programme Manager, said: "This is one of the worst disasters to have struck Balochistan in recent times. The problems such disasters leave behind are complex and need interventions at many levels.

"The immediate need is to help those who are stuck in remote and far-flung areas. But also, Muslim Hands is looking into building stronger houses for these communities for the future. "

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