Islamic Relief’s team member M Haseeb Khalid reports from Churan Ovir, Chitral
As the snowfall is expected and thunder grows louder, we continue our relief efforts day and night to reach more people with blankets, sleeping mattress, tarp sheets and shelter in Chitral. Our thoughts turned to those whose houses have been destroyed in the recent earthquake and now living under fragile structures – not a pleasant sleep for them. From last five days, Islamic Relief is continuously reaching in scattered human settlements in Chitral and Shangla districts, helping communities especially widows, elderly persons and indigenous groups in providing essential aid.
Bulbul Khan, 65, had lost his house and grocery shop was first person to get Islamic Relief’s winterized kit in a village Churan Ovir. IR volunteers helped him take his tent to a place where he had decided to pitch it. Many of these affected people don’t know how to pitch tents. Islamic Relief Disaster Response Team arranged demos in the community by pitching tents of elderly persons like Bulbul Khan.
“We were spending our nights in the cold and braving icy winds. Blankets, mattresses and this tent will help to keep us dry but not for a longer period as temperature will be down up to -10C” said Bulbul Khan. A few families have moved to their relatives in other locations but many are staying here as they have no other option to go, he told Islamic Relief team.
We were safe during earthquake but I am frightened of icy winds. Survival of newborn, elderly persons will be very difficult. There will be health issues in coming days, he feared.
Up on the hills snowfall has started bringing more misery to quake survivors.
Knowing the situation, Islamic Relief teams are spending much of their time with these communities in pitching tents, bringing more aid and travel through landslides. So much of the terrain is steep-sided that landslips are common in remote Chitral.
IR team struck on a tapered road on their way to Kalash valley.
We had already encountered a couple of slips caused by unstable ground. The addition of heavy rains and snowfall will make the likelihood of slips even greater. Islamic Relief is concerned about earthquake-affected communities who are still in wait of a much needed support. We wonder how stable their life in the tents would be if the soil becomes saturated?