Media CenterAs Winter Approaches, CRS Readies Response to Afghanistan, Pakistan Earthquake

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Updated October 27, 2015
3:00 pm

Following a powerful earthquake that struck northern Afghanistan Monday, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is reaching out to the affected areas – especially in Pakistan -- to gauge the damage and plan a response. Communication and access to affected areas remains challenging, but information received to date indicates needs for shelter and emergency relief items – especially as winter approaches.

“We are working closely with our partners to evaluate the scope and severity of the destruction,” said CRS Pakistan’s Country Representative Andy Schaefer. “Given that the effected region is mountainous terrain, the threat of landslides is high.”

The 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck Badakshan Province in Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush mountains at 2 p.m. local time Monday -- 5 a.m. EDT. Heavily affected areas include remote and difficult-to-reach parts of Pakistan’s northern KPK province, which shares a border with Afghanistan. Tremors from the earthquake could be felt as far away as Delhi, hundreds of miles to the south.

According to government officials in Afghanistan and Pakistan, more than 300 deaths have been reported, a number that will likely rise as first-responders reach affected areas. Initial reports indicate significant damage to homes and infrastructure in the hardest-hit areas of Pakistan. The earthquake also cutoff communication in parts of the two countries.

CRS continues to assess the worst-affected areas and is obtaining emergency relief items to distribute to 10,000 families.

“The earthquake affected remote areas which is good news and bad news,” Schaefer said. “Good because fewer people are likely to be impacted. Bad because those that are victims are difficult to reach.”

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Nikki Gamer

Media Relations Manager

Nikki Gamer
October 26, 2015

Based in Baltimore, MD

Nikki is the Media Relations Manager for CRS and connects journalists to regional stories and sources related to the agency’s life-saving development work. Previously, Nikki worked as the Communications Officer for the Middle East, Europe, and Central Asia. She has covered CRS’ response to the Syrian refugee crisis and the mass displacement of...More