PESHAWAR - International Rescue Committee Pakistan is implementing relief assistance program for 750 earthquake affected families of district Shangla in collaboration with Help in Need (HIN).

This relief assistance program is aimed at assisting the affected population in their struggle of survival and restoration after the massive earthquake of Badakhshan jolted northern terrains of Pakistan on October 26, 2015.

In order to oversee the ongoing distribution activities under its relief assistance program, the senior officials from the two NGOs visited the local communities in Shangla on January 8, 2016.

IRC initiated its relief assistance program in December 2015 in the two most affected union councils; Pir Abad and Dheri of Shangla.

Up till now, 615 families have been provided with food items i.e. wheat flour, cooking oil, pulses, non-food items inclusive of household utensils, hygiene kits and winterized tents.

During the visits to the affected communities, officials from IRC Pakistan and HIN sought their feedback on the continued relief activities as well as about the on-ground challenges they are facing through the path of rehabilitation.

A meeting among IRC officials and the district government representatives was also held at District Head Quarter Shangla, with Assistant Commissioner Shangla, Javaid Khan and Tehsil Nazim Tahir Khan.

The consultations in this meeting highlighted that substantial assistance has been provided by the government and humanitarian organizations for the reconstruction of the damaged houses.

Nevertheless these reconstruction efforts need to be augmented by interventions based on international standards for earthquake resistant construction designs.

Due to the destruction caused by the earthquake and harsh weather conditions there is a calling crisis in terms of lack of clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.

The affected population thus is facing ever greater health risks posed by the lack of such facilities. Shangla, marked as one of the least developed districts of the country, received highest blow in terms of the destruction caused by the calamitous earthquake.

With a death toll of 50 people, 184 were injured inclusive of women and children, where 12,775 houses were partially or completely damaged.

The community as well as the local government representatives urged the NGOs to pursue with long-term interventions to assist the affected population in building earthquake resistant houses, construction of sanitation facilities and for the provision of clean water.

IRC Pakistan is implementing numerous programs to support the communities with the provision of education, health, clean water and sanitization facilities in various other districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

With its extensive experience and outreach, the organization aims to continue serving the people of Shangla beyond the emergency relief services in terms of their sustainable rehabilitation.