All 5 entries tagged Earthquake

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August 31, 2006

Emergency Food Distribution

This should be my last Pakistan-based blog entry. As a result of heavier than expected monsoon rains falling on ground destabilised by last year’s earthquake, many people in the mountains around Balakot have lost their homes and their food, and have no money to restock food for the families. Those who took in relatives and friends who lost their homes also used up all their foodstocks quickly. This was the situation we heard about through our partner organisation, INSAN’s, contacts in the villages where we had been doing livelihood empowerment work. despite delays due to the main road to Balakot being impassable because of landslides for a week, we eventually were totally ready to go and prayed for the necessary weather one night with our collegues.

The next day dawned clear and dry, and we were able to pack up the supplies into sacks for each family who needed it: –
Packing in the wholesaler

It was hard work, stacking 272 sacks of rice, beans, salt and spices (that was my job, anyway), but not as hard as the labourers’ who had to load the trucks – 272 of the sacks of the things above, 272 cans of cooking oil, and 272 sacks of flour – this guy is carrying 3×20kg flour sacks – something us soft brits couldn’t even attempt safely: –
Loading the trucks - manual handling regulations, eat your heart out!

Of course, once we’d loaded up all the trucks (nearly 10 tonnes of food!) we trundled to where we were distributing from – an Oxfam warehouse camp near Balakot. Then we had to unload it all again, into the hands of eagerly awaiting local people who would take it up into the mountains on mules, as the jeep tracks had disappeared completely.
Unloading flour and oil

Unloading rice and other stuff

Everybody mucked in helping out – Salvation Army, INSAN, the wholesaler, the locals…
Unloading more rice and other stuff

We had some leftover food for groups that had not made it down that day, so Oxfam had agreed to keep them in their warehouse. unfortunately, it turns out they didn’t actuallly have enough room, so it ended up in someone’s tent! The photo shows the food being collected the next day: –
Final distribution from an Oxfam tent

August 05, 2006

Mansehra photos 2

This group of photos were taken the last time we got to Mang and Boli – just about! It had rained heavily the night before and so the road to Balakot was in a bad state – there were landslides on the road on every stretch, although fortunately no collapsed or washed away sections of road.
Balakot Road Landlides

Water from the mountain streams and rivers flowed across the road in many places, making for some interesting scenes. In the next photo, the waters had deposited a lot of rocks and gravel which made crossing through the fast flowing water difficult for some vehicles! A traffic jam ensued and everyone got out to watch.
Balakot Road Ford

On the left is a Suziki pick up (found everywhere in Pakistan since a factory was set up in Karachi) piled ridiculously high with furniture so that it wobbled precariously and got stuck amongst the rocks until a tractor cleared a path across the ford. The Shell tanker also got stuck, right in the middle of the ford, and we worried it might stop all the traffic along the road, until some people were able to dig some of the rock away from it's wheels and with much shuffling backwards and forwards, it finally got going. The water went down a bit and we had no trouble getting across – even little cars like a Daewoo Matiz made it. It was a fun addition to the journey, even if it did make it take a bit longer than expected.
We finally got to Mang safely – it turned out that it had only rained between Mansehra town and Balakot, but not beyond, so our favourite bridge (see previous entry) was still hanging on! The roof struts were going on to the lower buildings, and our engineer, Bashir, was very insistent with the builders that they get the roof on as soon as possible to protect against the rains.
Mang School Progress

Finally, back at home in Mansehra, Robert and I have been involved in a little flood alleviation project of our own, on the strategically important route to the chiapatti shop!
Local Flood Alleviation

A low point in the road seems to collect water, gravel and sand, making it rather difficult for all the people that walk along this way. Fortunately there is a deep drainage ditch alongside the road that we were able to dig a little channel to, draining the water from the road. The system is still working, days later, although continued deposits of gravel tend to try to block the entrance. Somebody else seems to have noticed, as further up the road on the way to the shop, 2 more drainage channels into the ditch have been cut by other people to take away the water flowing down the road.

Mansehra photos 1

This entry has a selection of photos taken around the Earthquake affected area.
First is the SA's house in Mansehra where we live. Majors Alison and Wendy are sitting on verandeh where we spend much of our time when it is hot and the power (and the fans) are off, or when the living room is being hoovered. When the power is off at night we watch the glowing bugs that look like long woodlice with lights up their bottoms and the occasional fireflies! During the day or when the lights are on we've seen geckos, huge grasshoppers, frogs, praying mantisses a giant centipede thing. If I get time, I'll put some photos of them up as well!

SA House, Mansehra

The last time we visited our projects and Mang and Boli the weather was dry and the main road to Balakot was wide and easy, albeit bendy, with a little work going on in one place where the river had undermined the side of the road and a landslide had landed on top.

Balakot Roadworks

Boli is on this road, and we could see that levelling of the ground was starting with a tractor. The road up to Mang had been badly damaged as a result of the earthquake and subsequent landslides, which made for an exciting but reasonable journey in our 4×4 vehicle.
Mang Road

You can see here how the road must have once been quite reasonable tarmac, but vehcles have to veer off onto the dirt to avoid lost parts of the road.
At one point along this road, we pass over a bridge – the first time the team crossed this (before I arrived) and looked back, they got quite a shock, as you can see from the next photo, the floodwaters had done some damage!
Mang Road Bridge

Needless to say we're praying no more damage is done to the bridge by the next time we need to cross it! In my next entry, I'll post some of the more recent photos of last week's adventurous trip to Mang and Boli, after some heavy monsoon rains!


July 20, 2006

First Field Trip

Yesterday I went on my first field trip, to visit the school building project at Mang, and the vocational training centre at Boli, both near Balakot. Progress at Mang School 19-7-06
The first photo is of progress at Mang School, where building is as in the photo, and the other is ready for concrete pouring. The lower section of the walls is reinforced concrete, and the upper is wood, much of it salvaged timber. The roof will be corregated iron sheeting. The following picture shows the school office which is already complete, showing a similar style of construction. Mang School OfficeSome of the roads are pretty interesting too – the recently arrived monsoon rains are literally washing away the roads and bridges. Keep watching for more upadtes soon!

June 09, 2006

Pakistan Deployment – Introduction, Maps and Photographs

Dear Friends,

This summer I am being deployed to the region in Pakistan where, on October 8, 2005, a severe earthquake killed 70,000 (more than the population of Leamington or Maidstone) and made around 3 million homeless (roughly the population of the West Midlands or Kent + Sussex). You probably heard about it on the news at the time, and there were many appeals for help and funding and so on. You've probably heard me telling you I'm going there as well – I'm quite excited about it!
In response to the disaster, the Salvation Army in Pakistan requested assistance from International Headquarters to set up a team to help in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, and in the long term reconstruction of facilities in the area. Over the whole earthquake area (shown on map 2, overleaf), thousands of schools, health centres and community facilities need rebuilding, along with the homes of ordinary people. The Salvation Army is currently involved in rebuilding a school and a community centre, as well as a community assistance project across 40 affected villages. I will be joining a team of 2 British Salvation Army Officers, and 2 Pakistani SA Soldiers that make up the team who live in a house in Mansehra, travelling to various areas around Mansehra and Balakot (see map 2 overleaf).
This trip will be an opportunity for me to serve God in a new and challenging way, along with the ordinary people of Pakistan. I hope the work I do will be useful, and also expect to gain some unique experiences – I'll tell you all about it when I get back!
Along those lines, I want this to be something that doesn't just benefit me or the people I am going to, but it can be useful for you too! Through my experiences, and the stories and information I bring back, I will try to give all of you a better understanding and appreciation of the work of the Salvation Army that is being done to help people in need on the other side of the world.
I also need your help. Going to Pakistan will present opportunities, challenges and difficulties I have not faced before – it is definitely not within my 'comfort zone', I will have to step out of the boat and any other suitable catch phrase you can think of. I need your prayers – that is the most powerful and effective way of reaching me in Pakistan! Saying that, I will have internet connection, so feel free to email me – I'll try to send out personal updates and write in my blog (http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/danielpaxton/ – no I haven't written much in it yet!) to let you know how we're doing. Please pray for the team's safety, for the success of the work we are carrying out, for wisdom for when we are planning our work or have to make difficult decisions, and for the demonstration God's love in everything we do, even if Pakistan's Muslim status makes it difficult at times for Christians.
Unfortunately getting to Pakistan requires more than just prayer (short of a pretty amazing miracle!) – I may say I'll get there 'On a wing and a prayer' – well I need the wing too. This is the other thing I need your help with – flying to Pakistan (well I would go by train, but it would a very long time to go the long way there!) will cost up to roughly £600, vaccinations (I have to have loads!) and other health costs will be more than £200 (I have already spent £164!). These are the main costs I will face, as board and lodging will are provided in the Salvation Army's house in Mansehra, and the team have a vehicle for getting around, so I'm looking to raise at least £800 in sponsorship money – that works out at about 20p a mile, or 13p a kilometre – not bad really (Pakistan is about 4000 miles or 6000 km away).
I would be very grateful if you could help me – pray or pay – I'm doing both! Any money offered which I do not require for my own costs I will put towards the Salvation Army's own funds for the reconstruction work.

Many thanks and God bless,

Daniel Paxton

A selection of maps and photos to illustrate where I'm going:

Map 1:
Pakistan Map

Map 2:
Labelled District Map

Mang School, which the Salvation Army is rebuilding:

A view of part of the school site, and the road leading up to it:
Mang School Road

Robert Tariq (one of the SA team in Mansehra) and Mike McKee from IHQ:
Robert Tariq and Mike McKee

The outside of the SA team's house in Mansehra – a 4 bedroom bungalow:
SA Team House

A bedroom in the SA team's house:
SA Team House Bedroom

Other rooms in the house – reception/office:
SA Team House Reception

Kitchen:
SA Team House Kitchen

Lounge:
SA Team House Lounge

Transportation in style! Rugged transport for getting to remote villages:
SA Team Vehicle


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