Friends and Supporters,
I am writing this letter from Pakistan which is currently in the midst of an enormous crisis. As most of you know, on Oct. 8, Northern Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) administrated region were struck by a 7.6 earthquake. Maybe you have heard the numbers. Over 55,000 dead and counting, over 70,000 seriously injured and counting. 3 million people homeless, 800,000 without any shelter whatsoever. 10,000-12,000 schools destroyed. In some districts such as Muzzafarabad (the capital of AJK) and Balakot over 90 percent of everything has been destroyed. Whole villages have been wiped from the map. The destruction and loss of life has been tremendous and terrible. But the emergency is far from over.
The current situation is on the verge of another disaster of even greater scale. The areas affected are largely small villages and towns spread out across a huge and mountainous area. Most of the roads connecting these villages to support have been destroyed by the earthquake and continue to be re-blocked by rockslides and aftershocks. Estimates are that about 30% of the affected area has not even been reached yet. That’s an estimated 200,000 people nobody knows anything about.
What is known is that in 3-5 weeks heavy winter snows will completely seal off the majority of the affected area. 55,000 people died in the earthquake, but many times more will die if they do not receive food or shelter before winter begins. While there are many needs, the largest gap and biggest emergency is in shelter. Currently an estimated 210,000 (at minimum) winterized tents and shelters are needed and are needed fast. These would cover about 2 Million people. 2 Million people that will all die if they do not receive adequate shelter in the next several weeks. Let me repeat that: 2 Million people that will all die if they do not receive adequate shelter in the next several weeks.
The situation is desperate. No one was ready for this, no one knew the scale. And the international community failed to respond with compassion. In the wake of other disasters around the world somehow we forgot to care. Donations were made, many too late and too small. Maybe the people affected are remote, from places we have never heard of, maybe they are a different race and speak a different language. But their children still cry because they don’t know where their mother is, Parents still cry over children crushed to death beneath concrete slabs. And they will all freeze to death by December.
There is still time to save thousands of lives. Donations are needed to purchase tents and shelter for these people. We (The Frontiers) are collecting donations in hopes that we can support at least two villages completely with adequate shelter to last till they can rebuild in the spring. I will not soften my words. If people do not donate, thousands of people will die. The people are here, the organizations are here. The money is not, the tents are not. If we can get enough money for 600-700 tents, 600-700 families (or what remains of their families) will not die, will have a chance to restart their lives next spring.
Time is limited. This is an emergency. Please help the people of northern Pakistan.
Paul-Philip (Paco) Michelson
Pakistan Earthquake Shelter Coordinator
Questions? Email me: email@example.com
+92-301-533-7749 (Pakistan Cell)+93-79-047-351 (Afghanistan Cell)