Pakistan earthquake relief continues

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Salvation Army provides tents and cookers for earthquake victims.

Salvation Army team members with a family in their new, warm tent [Courtesy of International Headquarters].

Salvation Army relief team members in Pakistan continue to provide aid to victims of the earthquake that hit the Baluchistan region in late October, when at least 250 people died and 20,000 others lost their homes. In phase one of a combined relief effort, The Salvation Army agreed to supply winterized tents, cooking and eating utensils and cylinder gas cookers for 500 families.

Personnel at The Salvation Army’s territorial headquarters in Lahore ordered winterized tents from local tent-makers, along with canvas bags to hold a cooker and utensils. The tents are a work in progress, to be shipped out in four phases with the canvas bag kits.

Working together
The Salvation Army personnel organized an assembly line to fill the bags. Working together were staff from headquarters, senior girls from the Army’s boarding hostel, young people from the corps, cadets from the officer training college and some employees from a local branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland. Three sessions held over five days were necessary to complete the task.

Meanwhile, at the earthquake site, a three-person team developed a distribution plan. Captain MacDonald Chandi, Major Khuram Shahzada and Captain Michael Paul have worked closely with the Pakistan military major in charge of coordinating the relief efforts. He set up meetings with his General, informing him of The Salvation Army’s efforts. They expressed appreciation, particularly for the tents, which were more suited for the current climate than others they had received.

The first distribution took place in the remote village of Warchoon, where 100 families received tents and supplies. Assigned to the team were 20 military soldiers, who helped erect the tents quickly. Later that week the team distributed another 120 tents and kits.

Local military coordinators requested a second batch of 500 winterized tents and kits, and The Salvation Army quickly made these available. A shortage of these tents still exists, however, and temperatures at night are now as low as minus 13 degrees Celsius (about 8 degrees Fahrenheit). Appropriate shelter remains the greatest priority, as aftershocks are still occurring and people are afraid to return to their damaged homes.

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