With more than four million people affected by the Pakistan earthquake and an estimated 2.5 million homeless, Mercy Corps is rushing emergency aid to victims near the epicenter in the Siran Valley. A relief team of eight aid workers, including doctors and surgeons, are treating earthquake victims and delivering medical supplies to the valley’s population of 100,000.
Mercy Corps is the only aid agency working in this area. Due to the huge number of people who are displaced from this disaster, the agency is preparing for a relief effort on par with the Indian Ocean tsunami.
“I don’t think the scope of this disaster has sunk in yet,” notes Mercy Corps’ Global Communication Officer Cassandra Nelson who is in hard-hit Balakot, Pakistan. “There were up to two million people left homeless by the tsunami, which was spread out over many countries. But just in Pakistan, the government estimates that there are 2.5 million people who are displaced and many more need assistance.”
In the first five days since the earthquake hit, Mercy Corps has received about the same number of donations as it did in the same time period following the tsunami. As of 10:00 AM Thursday, donations totaled £1 million, which includes £300,000 donations from both the Intel Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The agency does not expect the earthquake fundraising to keep pace with the tsunami, which brought in a record-breaking £25 million but emphasizes that there is great need in Pakistan.
Mercy Corps has been working in Pakistan for 20 years and had 121 staff there already when the earthquake struck. The agency works in Baluchistan and Sindh provinces where programmes focus on clean water, health care, and jobs for more than 320,000 people.
How to Help:
Mail: Mercy Corps, PAKISTAN EARTHQUAKE Relief Fund
Dept NR, PO Box 2669, Portland OR 97208.