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European Union brings relief to earthquake victims in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, 27 /DNA/ – European Union is allocating €180,000 (over 36 million Pakistani rupees) to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to families affected by the devastating earthquake that struck Pakistan’s south-western province of Balochistan in early October. The aid will benefit over 4,500 people in the worst-hit district of Harnai.

The EU funding supports the Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) in delivering immediate assistance through the distribution of emergency shelter materials and household items, such as tents, tarpaulins, blankets, kitchen sets and hygiene kits to ensure the basic needs are met. Training on hygiene promotion will also be organised to ensure good hygiene practices in affected communities. Special attention will be paid to those most in need, especially people whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged in the aftermath of the strong tremor.

The funding is part of the EU’s overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

More than 21 people were killed and over 300 others injured when a strong 5.9-magnitude earthquake hit near Balochistan’s Hamai district in the early morning hours of 7 October. With a shallow depth of nine kilometres, the earthquake caused substantial damage to a number of homes and buildings, leaving hundreds of people homeless. Consecutive landslides blocked roads leading to the affected area, disrupting rescue and recovery efforts. Harnai, located about 160 kilometres east of in the provincial capital, Quetta, is one of the most affected areas, although damage was also reported in Quetta and in the city of Sibi.

The European Union together with its Member States is the world’s leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity towards people in need around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and human-made crises.

Through its European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the European Union helps over 120 million victims of conflicts and disasters every year. For more information, please visit ECHO’s website.

The European Commission has signed a €3 million humanitarian contribution agreement with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Federation’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). Funds from the DREF are mainly allocated to “small-scale” disasters – those that do not give rise to a formal international appeal.

The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund was established in 1985 and is supported by contributions from donors. Each time a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF. For small-scale disasters, the IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors. The contribution agreement between the IFRC and ECHO enables the latter to replenish the DREF for agreed operations (that fit in with its humanitarian mandate) up to a total of €3 million.=DNA

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