Earthquake in South Asia: Humanitarian Assistance and Relief Operations [Updated March 24, 2006]   [open pdf - 310KB]

"On October 8, 2005, a powerful earthquake struck northern Pakistan and India, killing at least 74,000 people and injuring over 70,000 more. The earthquake damaged the homes of millions of people, forcing more than 2.8 million to search for alternative means of shelter. The full extent of the destruction is now being revealed as government authorities and relief organizations are able to access some of the remote locations. The United States government (USG) has pledged $510 million toward the relief effort, almost all of it to assisting Pakistan, which remains a key U.S. ally in the war against terror. Because of the heavy USG military and development presence in neighboring Afghanistan, the logistics of bringing resources into Pakistan have been relatively straightforward. The USG, Government of Pakistan, and NATO, among others, operated daily relief flights to ferry supplies, personnel, and victims to and from the region. The earthquake struck a region that lies along the southern reaches of the Himalayan Mountains. While delivering humanitarian assistance and gaining full access was critical, one of the main humanitarian priorities early on was ensuring that the estimated three million people who lost their homes had adequate protection from winter weather and diseases. Extensive preparation and coordinated relief efforts helped greatly to mitigate against the impact of winter. Aid agencies continue to provide much needed assistance and are now planning for the transition from relief to reconstruction, which is scheduled to take place in April."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL33196
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