Aerial shot from the surroundings of CV Santo after the earthquake in Port-au-Prince
Like the Haiti disaster, in Kashmir, in 2005, SOS Children was inextricably linked to the disaster due to its position and long term work within the region. This article is about the SOS Children Emergency Relief Effort in the region:
By the 8th October 2005, SOS Children had finished constructing a new Children's Villages at Muzaffarabad (our eighth in Pakistan). The children who were going to live there were having a brief stay at another Children's Village, before moving into their new home. Then disaster struck. SOS Children's Village Muzaffarabad was right at the epicentre of a powerful earthquake and completely destroyed (despite our 60 year life span construction standards). Few buildings near it were left standing at all. In total some 79,000 people died and unlike the Asia Tsunami there was no huge international response.
SOS Children had been in Pakistan for decades with a presence including seven children's villages. Shortly after disaster struck, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf declared in an interview that SOS Childrens Villages is the best custodian of our Kashmiri children, and appointed SOS Children legal guardian of all unaccompanied children.
When the earthquake struck on the 8th Oct 2005, our response was quick. By the 11th October, SOS Children was distributing relief care packages as well as blankets and tents for more than 1,000 people in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Each "relief care package" contained rations of dry food, milk and water to serve one family for two days. These were packaged by students from Islamabad who immediately volunteered for the job, working through the night.
A team of 20 SOS Children employees coordinated the relief efforts directly in Muzaffarabad. SOS was quick to send a team and emergency supplies to Bagh, another town close to the earthquake's epicentre and which was unreached by authorities. In addition, plans were made for emergency shelter in Islamabad for approximately 100 unaccompanied children and women, and collection points for the distribution of clothing were established.