For Immediate Release
October 5, 2006
60 PERCENT OF PAKISTAN EARTHQUAKE SURVIVORS STILL DISPLACED, VULNERABLE TO COMING WINTER
Fritz Institute Survey of Survivors Provides New Findings On Status of Relief Operations and the Effort to Rebuild Lives
SAN FRANCISCO - One year after a devastating earthquake in northern Pakistan killed 73,000 people and rendered 3.3 million people homeless, a Fritz Institute survey released today finds that 60% of the survivors are still displaced. Over 90% of the affected population expressed that they remain in need of assistance with food, shelter and livelihoods almost one year after the earthquake.
“Our findings are alarming. Too many earthquake survivors are facing another winter without basic services and adequate shelter,” said Anisya Thomas, Ph.D., managing director of Fritz Institute, a California-based non-profit that specializes in improving global disaster relief operations.
In a culture where independence is prized, self-sufficiency has dropped significantly. Poverty is increasing. Sixty-three (63%) percent of survivors report a loss of income, with the people at the lowest income levels most affected. Before the earthquake, only three (3%) percent reported inadequate income for survival, while today thirty-one (31%) percent report not having enough income to survive. Nearly one-fifth (19%) of the survivors said that their lives will never be normal again.
One year after the earthquake, over fifty (50%) percent of people surveyed reported that they still needed and had not received assistance with food, water, livelihood and clothing. The unmet needs for shelter, counseling and medical care were 38%, 39% and 46%, respectively.
Overall, earthquake survivors who had received help expressed satisfaction with the assistance provided. Those dissatisfied with services noted their frustration with the process of aid provision. Aid recipients, for example, noted a lack of transparency in aid distribution leading to perceptions of inequity. A lack of cultural appropriateness of aid was also identified by beneficiaries, who reported their dissatisfaction with the inability of women to observe purdah in tents and camps.
Those who did receive help overwhelmingly identified the Pakistani government including the military as the principal provider of aid, with over seventy-five (75) percent expressing satisfaction with government assistance. Over time, the role of international NGOs has increased and they are now the main providers of food, medical care, and toilet and sanitation services. Local NGOs had a relatively small presence according to the survey respondents.
In the rehabilitation efforts it appears that there was minimal consultation with those who were affected. Most households reported that they had no input in the decision-making processes related to the restoration of livelihoods (98%), shelter (98%), counseling and psycho-social care (98%), and food assistance (97%).
“Even a year after the earthquake, it is surprising that the overwhelming majority of aid recipients in our survey reported not being consulted,” commented Dr. Thomas. “It is reasonable to say that the voices of the affected were not adequately incorporated into the rehabilitation efforts to date.”
SHELTER: Sixty (60) percent of survivors are still displaced and unable to return to their homes, two-thirds (66%) of whom are living in tents. Most are at high altitudes, leaving them vulnerable to the coming winter;
INCOME: Survivors have become much poorer with sixty-three (63) percent of households reporting loss of income due to damaged land or facilities, and thirty-one (31) percent saying they do not have enough income to survive;
RELIEF EFFORTS: Help provided was dramatically inadequate, with one-quarter (27%) to one-half (53%) of the survivors surveyed reporting basic unmet needs two months after the earthquake. Over half of the respondents in need of livelihood restoration, drinking water, sanitation, clothing and relocation at the 2-month mark, reported that they still had not received the assistance close to a year after the earthquake.
RELIEF ORGANIZATIONS: Of those who reported receiving assistance two months after the earthquake, most identified the government as the primary provider of shelter, food, medical assistance and livelihood restoration. However, government relief efforts ten months after the earthquake appear to be dropping: two months after the earthquake, forty-two (42) percent of the surveyed survivors identified the government as providing shelter, while ten months later only thirty-two (32) percent identified the government. Over time, international NGOs have emerged as prominent provider of relief, for services including food, medical care, and toilet and sanitation services.
For the full report, visit www.fritzinstitute.org
About Fritz Institute
Fritz Institute is a non-profit dedicated to improving global disaster relief by creating innovative approaches to ensure help arrives when and where it’s needed most. Fritz Institute mobilizes private sector expertise and academic research to strengthen the standards and operations that support effective front-line preparedness and response. For additional information, visit www.fritzinstitute.org.