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UNHCR rushes relief supplies to quake-hit Iran

News Stories, 29 December 2003

© UNHCR Kermanshah
UNHCR trucks in Kermanshah, before heading towards Bam with tents, blankets and mattresses.

TEHRAN, Iran, Dec 29 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency has rushed eight truckloads of relief items to help earthquake victims in the south-eastern Iranian city of Bam survive winter nights in the devastated area.

On Monday afternoon, the UNHCR convoy arrived in Kerman, 150 km west of Bam, with 1,000 tents, 10,000 blankets and 3,000 mattresses. The authorities had requested that the supplies be offloaded in Kerman because roads leading into Bam were heavily congested by people leaving and others rushing in to check on relatives.

The relief items were handed over to the government's Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants (BAFIA), and will likely be distributed to earthquake survivors by the Iranian Red Crescent Society.

According to a UN assessment team, up to 90 percent of all buildings in Bam have been damaged by the earthquake, which struck early Friday and measured 6.6 on the Richter scale. UNHCR hopes that the supplies will provide immediate relief to the affected population that has to cope with sub-zero temperatures at night.

The relief items, estimated at $140,000, were sent on Sunday morning from the refugee agency's warehouse in Kermanshah, some 1,500 km away in western Iran, not far from the Iraq border. UNHCR had stockpiled the supplies in case of an exodus into Iran following the Iraq conflict this spring.

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UNHCR country pages

Emergency Response

UNHCR is committed to increasing its ability to respond to complex emergency situations.

Pakistan Earthquake: The Initial Response

The UN refugee agency is providing hundreds of tonnes of urgently needed relief supplies for victims in northern Pakistan. UNHCR is sending family tents, hospital tents, plastic sheeting, mattresses, kitchen sets, blankets and other items from its global stockpiles. Within a few days of the earthquake, just as its substantial local stocks were all but exhausted, UNHCR began a series of major airlifts from its warehouses around the world, including those in Denmark, Dubai, Jordan and Turkey.

UNHCR does not normally respond to natural disasters, but it quickly joined the UN humanitarian effort because of the sheer scale of the destruction, because the quake affected thousands of Afghan refugees, and because the agency has been operational in Pakistan for more than two decades. North West Frontier Province (NWFP), one of the regions most severely affected by the quake, hosts 887,000 Afghan refugees in camps.

While refugees remain the main focus of UNHCR's concern, the agency is integrated into the coordinated UN emergency response to help quake victims.

Pakistan Earthquake: The Initial Response

Pakistan Earthquake: Braving the Winter Cold

December 2005 – January 2006

Winter in northern Pakistan has not been as harsh as many feared, but earthquake survivors are still experiencing dangerously low temperatures, along with snow, heavy rain and landslides.

To help people survive the tough conditions, UNHCR has distributed blankets, plastic sheeting, tents and stoves. Vulnerable children in Danna village, north of Muzaffarabad city, have received warm clothing. In camps in North West Frontier Province (NWFP), communal, heated tents have been set up, while in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, where there is not enough space for communal tents, stoves are being distributed to individual families. UNHCR staff are training camp residents on the safe use of stoves and reducing fire hazards. Finally, UNHCR partners are registering people displaced by earthquake, gathering information vital for both the provision of aid to survivors now and the reconstruction that will come later.

UNHCR is responsible for supporting the Pakistan authorities in some 160 relief camps housing nearly 140,000 people left homeless by the October 8th quake.

Pakistan Earthquake: Braving the Winter Cold

Pakistan Earthquake

The UN refugee agency is providing hundreds of tonnes of urgently needed relief supplies for victims in northern Pakistan. UNHCR is sending family tents, hospital tents, plastic sheeting, mattresses, kitchen sets, blankets and other items from its global stockpiles. Within a few days of the earthquake, just as its substantial local stocks were all but exhausted, UNHCR began a series of major airlifts from its warehouses around the world, including those in Denmark, Dubai, Jordan and Turkey.

UNHCR does not normally respond to natural disasters, but it quickly joined the UN humanitarian effort because of the sheer scale of the destruction, because the quake affected thousands of Afghan refugees, and because the agency has been operational in Pakistan for more than two decades. North West Frontier Province (NWFP), one of the regions most severely affected by the quake, hosts 887,000 Afghan refugees in camps.

While refugees remain the main focus of UNHCR's concern, the agency is integrated into the coordinated UN emergency response to help quake victims.

Pakistan Earthquake

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