We have focused in two areas. After the discussion, it was decided
that Paniloa town in Rawalakot district in Kashmir and some isolated
village in Balakot district in North West Frontier Province (NWFP)
will be our area of work. The destruction is on massive scale
and we had no choice but to restrict ourselves in two selected
Paniola is 12 kilometer away from Rawalkot district of Kashmir.
Paniola is a small town, 12 kilometer from Balakot. There are
38 villages around the town. They are located on both sides of
Paniola, upward on the mountains and downward towards the valley.
The town has a small bazaar. The registered votes on the local
areas are 62,000. There are two union councils in the area, Pachiot
and Bangohi. There is one girls college 4 kilometer from
Paniola and one boys college 7 kilometer from here. Paniola
is mainly a trading town with shops of all kind. The total population
of the town will be not more than 2000.
It is mainly an area comprising working people. Some has gone
to Middle East and many to other parts of Pakistan in search of
work. There very few who could be regarded as rich and middle
class. There is no industry in the area. The main work at Paniola
is petty trading and selling milk and goats. Some also sell grass.
The earthquake on 8th October has hit the area and the damage
is colossal. There are not human causalities as is the case of
Bagh but almost every house in the villages particularly towards
the valley is damaged of totally destroyed. It is estimated that
there are around 350 causalities and many more injured. Most of
the people have to live outside their demolished houses and some
has managed some tents. And locally made some sort of shelter
of cloths blankets and bed sheets. The winter is approaching and
the situation will get worst.
For first two days, there was no help arrived from anywhere.
Although several trucks load of good were passing from here to
go to Rawalkot and Bagh. This was building frustration among the
villagers. Nisar Shah, chairperson Labour Party Pakistan belong
to this area. He is practicing advocate in Karachi. He was able
to come here on 9th October. The first help arrived here on 11th
October from Lahore sent by Labour Relief Campaign. This was followed
by several more trucks sent from Lahore. Several volunteers from
Lahore LPP stayed here few days to help in distribution and survey
of the area.
The idea of setting up local committee was not materialized until
the first relief truck that arrived here on 11th October. Local
had no trust as this might be just a talk show. Since then, 13
village committees have been set up. There is a central relief
committee now working on the name of Citizen Relief Committee
headed by Nisar Shah. A team of 10 members from Lahore visited
the area on 18th October. The area need immediate and long term
relief and rehabilitation work.
The main need of the area is shelter, food and medicines.
The other focal area of our work is some village at Balakot area
At Sanghar, Kashian, Bhanghian and Josach villages in Balakot
district, there are 80 per cent causalities and 100 percent houses
are demolished, one of the worst hit area. These villages are
around 30 kilometer from Balakot city. Some more relief has finally
arrived in the villages after 12 days. Labour Relief Campaign
was the first one to reach the area on 13th October after five
days of the most disaster our earthquake in Pakistan.
Here as well, a local relief committee is been established to
help coordinate the work. This most effected area. We heard that
teams from China and army has now reached in the area and has
provided some tents, food and medicines.
A lot more has to be done in this area including the rebuilding
of the education and health system. The immediate need is shelter,
food and medicines.
What has been done so far
We have sent nine truck loads of food, tents, medicine, blankets
and cloths. That has been distributed by the local committees
and by the volunteers of Labour Relief Campaign. We have established
a temporary office and a store in Paniola. At this place, we are
the only one helping the area. Every day, dozens of effectees
of the villages from the top of the mountains and from the valley
come to the office to ask for the help.
We are also trying to help build the networking of different
organizations in Pakistan who are involved in relief and rehabilitation
Labour Education Foundation
Sufi Mansion 7-Agerton Road Lahore, Pakistan
Tel: 92 42 6303808, Fax: 92 42 6271149
Email: email@example.com www.lef.org.pk