Description of the disaster
On 24 September 2019 at 16:02 local time, a powerful earthquake jolted several parts of Pakistan, particularly Mirpur and Bhimber districts in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck at a shallow depth of 10km with its epicenter lying one kilometer southeast of Mirpur. Furthermore, aftershocks were also felt, notably at 4.4 magnitude on 26 September and a lesser one on 6 October with a 3.8 magnitude. According to NDMA’s situation report dated 11 October 2019, 39 people lost their lives and more than 700 people were injured. The high intensity earthquake also caused severe to moderate damages to houses, buildings, and other infrastructures. Over 7,400 families were badly affected in districts Mirpur and Bhimber due to the damages caused to their houses. Significant damage to the main road in Mirpur – Jatlan, along the Jatlan Canal also caused damage to some 200 vehicles. Summary of losses and damages as per NDMA report1 dated 11 October, is as below:
Overview of Host National Society
In response to the earthquake, the National Society immediately commenced their response operation to help affected communities. Below are some of the most critical activities that took place:
• Six staff members and 12 volunteers were deployed to the target areas, to conduct on ground needs assessment.
• Initial assessment of the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) situation and continuous monitoring for relevant WASH interventions.
• Conducted livelihood and market assessment.
• Mobilized Community Disaster Response Team (CDRT), District Disaster Response Team (DDRT), National Disaster Response Team (NDRT) and volunteers to support the response operation.
• Mobilized First Aid (FA) teams from adjoining districts - Bhimber and Kotli, to reach district Mirpur to carry out FA response for the injured community members. Local volunteers in Mirpur were mobilized together with the First Aid Responders (FAR) Teams.
• Psychosocial support was provided to affected families in the target areas for their physical and mental wellbeing.
• Coordinated with other WASH actors working in the same area, for designing appropriate response actions for the target group needs.
• Four ambulances were deployed to Mirpur from PRCS National Headquarters (NHQ), carrying medicines and other relief items.
• Identified, verified and registered 576 households (HHs) according to the set criteria, through Red Rose Application for cash and WASH assistance.
• Community meetings and consultations with local authorities were conducted in order to take them on board and have their ownership for the operation.
• Engaged a suitable money transfer service for cash distribution.
• Carried out timely funds transfer to FSPs and issuance of debit instruction.
• PRCS coordination with FSP retailers for ensuring liquidity during cash disbursement days.
• Cash disbursement and timely follow up calls to beneficiaries for collection of their cash grants.
• Hygiene communication plan was developed, and subsequent training was imparted to volunteers on the plan and related activities.
• Twelve volunteers mobilized for basic hygiene promotion activities.
• Distribution of 500 household level water filters among 500 most vulnerable households.
• Conducted 20 awareness sessions on health and hygiene during the distribution of water filters