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Bad roads affecting relief work in quake-hit areas

April 19, 2013

Pakistani Army patrol near collapsed mud houses in the quake hit Mashkail area of southwestern Balochistan province on April 18, 2013.— Photo by AFP

QUETTA: Bad condition of roads and dust storms are causing hindrance in transportation of relief goods to people affected by Tuesday’s earthquake in the border town of Mashkel.

According to official sources, several hundred personnel of the army, Frontier Corps and relief workers are taking part in the rescue and relief operations. They said the Balochistan government was using army helicopters to dispatch relief items, such as tents, blankets, food, potable water and medicines to affected areas.

Khalid Baloch, the director general of Provincial Disaster Management Authorities, told Dawn that 24 trucks loaded with relief goods were dispatched from Quetta and Nushki. However, because of bad condition of roads the goods were shifted to army helicopters in Washuk and Dalbandin which transported them to affected areas.

Relief workers are helping affected people of Mashkel in making makeshift tent houses and proving them relief items.

Army has established a field hospital in Mashkel where its doctors were providing medical facilities, including medicines, to the injured.

Reports suggest that several thousands earthquake-affected people have been trapped in far flung areas and that they are still waiting for relief goods. Hundreds of houses in these areas are completely damaged now and people have no shelter. According to reports, after the earthquake big cracks were emerged in government buildings in these areas and even though they have not collapsed, people are not feeling safe in taking shelter in them. People in these areas have no option but to stay in the open in the simmering head.

Reports reaching here say that there is also a serious food shortage in these areas.

There is anger among people of affected areas over slow pace of relief work.

Some of affected people who have reached Quetta told this correspondent that the affected areas were in urgent need of relief goods. They called upon the government to accelerate the pace of relief work.

“We received relief goods, but they were not enough,” said 35-year-old Abdul Qadir in the Combined Military Hospital in Quetta. He came with his wife and two injured children from Mashkel.

“Nothing was left after the earthquake,” said 60-year-old Haji Rashid whose wife and daughter were injured.

“I first hear a horrible sound and after that the earth started to tremble,” said 30-year-old Abdul Wahid. He said three members of his family were died when roof his house was collapsed.

The officials said the population of the affected area was about 15,000 and most houses there were made of mud. According to initial estimates, around 1,000 houses were destroyed.

Inspector General of Frontier Corps Maj-Gen Obaidullah Khattak is supervising rescue and relief operations in the affected area.

Official sources said that the rescue operation in the affected area was almost complete and now relief workers were shifting affected people to safe places. Aftershocks continued in Mashkel and adjacent areas and so far half a dozen shocks measuring 4.4 to 6 on the Richter scale were felt causing panic among people.

“People should be ready for more aftershocks,” said Saifullah Shami, the director of Methodical Department.