A powerful earthquake struck Balochistan on 24th September 2013, the quake’s epicenter was in the Awaran District, but other districts of Balochistan – Kech (Turbat) and Panjgur were also affected. According to reports, the tremors registered were of 7.8 on the Richter scale. After the initial incident, another earthquake of 7.2 magnitude hit the same area of Balochistan on September 28, 2013.
The initial results of rapid assessment done by HANDS & data presented by Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Government of Balochistan showed that 42000 families and nearly 300,000 peoples were affected. Around 90% of the building collapsed including shops and houses in 8 Union Councils of District Awaran. The 05 Union Councils of Panjgur & 02 Union Councils of District Kech were also affected from the disaster. According to PDMA Balochistan 399 people were killed and 599 were injured. Dozens of Health & Education facilities, water wells, Karezs were also damaged.
Realizing the pathetic state, HANDS was among the first few not for profit organizations to reach Awaran with philanthropy funding and later 2.5 million Pounds (PKR. 412 million) from DFID / UKAID partnership. We had the honour to meet the Chief Minister of Balochistan and brief him on the “Relief and Recovery Project” and he graciously consented to launch the project. HANDS planned and worked in close coordination with District Administration and Lines Department under the leadership of Deputy Commissioner Awaran and PDMA Balochistan.
HANDS was founded by Prof. A. G. Billoo (Sitara-e-Imtiaz) in 1979.HANDS has evolved in 34 years as one of the largest Non-Profit Disaster Management Organization of the country with integrated development model. HANDS has a network of 32 offices across the country and has access to more than 16.2 million population of nearly 20,274 villages/ settlement in 35 districts of Pakistan. HANDS strength is 18 volunteers Board Members, more than 1700 full time staff and thousands of community based volunteers of 5205 medium and small size organizations.
After the conduction of “rapid assessment” of the affected, a plan was developed to reach 10,000 households and 56,000 individuals through the project in earthquake-affected districts of Balochistan. The project reached to communities of 08 worst affected union councils including Awaran, Gajar, Nokjo, Teertej, Parwar, Gishkore, Chitkan (Panjgur), Dandar (Kech).
HANDS believe in community participation and worked with group methodology and thus 400 Community Support Groups (CSGs) were formed. Each group comprised of nearly 25 beneficiaries.
Realizing the immediate needs of targeted communities in the relief and early recovery phase of the earth quake, HANDS distributed 10,000 emergency shelter roofing kits (bamboos, plastic sheet and ropes), 20,000 blankets, 10,000 ceramic filters & 10,000 solar lights to the affected as per their need assessment.
In the health sector the contribution of HANDS included 07 mobile medical mobile teams sent from Karachi to provide health services to 27,000 sick and injured people. Emergency Health Care services package included maternal & Child Care, physiotherapy of injured patients, rehabilitation of disabled through developing a cadre of Community Health Worker. We also distributed 50 wheel Chairs to the disables. HANDS also in process 02 Hilux ambulances to the District Health Administration and solar energy source to maintain the cold chain of vaccines for 05 health facilities including District Head Quarter (DHQ) Hospital Awaran.
In the education sector, considering the urgent needs of District, 25 Child Friendly Spaces (CSF) were established. Learning material and sports material was provided which played a vital role to increase the interest of children. The change environment probably attributed to the increase in enrolment up to 1,469 children. One teacher from each school was trained and equipped with psycho social well-being skills. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services were provided at 25 targeted locations of Govt. schools along with provision of furniture and learning material.
HANDS in recent year has developed and excelled in providing low cost shelters in disaster affected areas. Through its Infrastructure Development Energy WASH and Shelter (IDEAS) program arranged to deliver the knowledge and skills at local level for construction of disaster resilient shelters through conduction of orientation session to community groups. The project provided the opportunity of “Cash grant” through bank transaction of PKR 49500 per family to 4500 families to build shelters. Cash grant of PKR 223 million is in transfer process.
HANDS also intervened on the livelihood aspect and “Cash Grants” for 1200 livelihood schemes to benefit 10,000 community members is in process as livelihood enhancement support. Out of 1200 schemes 32% are water related, 28% – Cleaning & Hygiene, 1.4% – Community Physical Infrastructure (CPI), 11% Handicraft and 10% Shelter. HANDS also enhanced the livelihood of Community groups through supplying 800 tool kits each of which comprised of 6 tools to be used in agriculture and non-agriculture labour. The intervention is still in the process and 63 million cash grant will be disbursed till the end of project period.
HANDS ensured the transparency by signing an agreement with United Bank Limited for on line cash transfer direct to the beneficiary on presentation of National Identity Cards (NIC). HANDS has also established and on line complaint mechanism name “Suggestion And Complaint (SAC)” system to give a direct access for all complaints to Chief Executive Secretariat for sharing of any concerns and grievances through telephone, letter, messaging or emails.
HANDS Monitoring & Evaluation Program also hired “Balochistan Engineering and Technology University Khuzdar” as 3rd party monitors, after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The Monitoring & Evaluation Program also made it mandatory to different cadres of staff to make monitoring field visits to ensure timely sharing of challenges, smooth implementation and sharing of monthly progress.
HANDS requires your generous support to continue these efforts, to make our dream come true through Rebuilding Balochistan affected areas and achieve vision of “Healthy, Educated, Prosperous and Equitable Society”. Millions of Balochi women, Children and survivors are looking forward to us. Let’s work together to give them a ray of hope.