Following the earthquake on Monday, October 26, Islamic Relief is distributing tents, plastic sheets, kits to help people stay warm in winter, and food. Haseeb Khalid reports from Churan Ovir, Chitral, in Pakistan.

As more snow is expected and thunder grows louder, we are continuing our relief efforts day and night to reach people with blankets, sleeping mattress, plastic sheets and shelter in Chitral. Our thoughts are with those whose houses have been destroyed in the recent earthquake and who are now living under fragile structures – not a pleasant sleep for them.

Over the last five days, Islamic Relief has worked in scattered human settlements in Chitral and Shangla, helping communities by providing essential items.

Setting up

Setting up the tent for Bulbul Khan.

Bulbul Khan, 65, had lost his house and grocery shop, and was first person from the village of Churan Ovir to get Islamic Relief’s winterisation kit. Islamic Relief volunteers helped him carry his tent to the place where he had decided to pitch it, and then pitched it for him, demonstrating to the rest of the community how to pitch these tents.

Islamic Relief team helps Bulbul Khan and family pitching tent in village Churan Ovir, Chitral.

“We were spending our nights in the cold and braving icy winds. Blankets, mattresses and this tent will help to keep us dry but not for a long period as the temperature will be down up to -10C,” said Bulbul Khan. He added that a few families had moved to stay with relatives in other locations but many are staying in the village as they had nowhere else to go. Now, he said, his biggest fear was the icy winds, which would make this winter particularly hazardous for people who are elderly and newborn children.

Distribution of tents and plastic sheets in Lone.

Distribution of tents and plastic sheets in Lone.

Up on the hills, snowfall has started to bring more misery to earthquake survivors. Knowing the situation, Islamic Relief teams are spending much of their time with these communities, pitching tents, bringing more stock and travelling through landslides to get to new areas. Much of the terrain in Chitral is steep and landslips are common.

We had already encountered a couple of slips caused by unstable ground. In addition, heavy rain and snowfall will make the likelihood of slips even greater, so Islamic Relief is concerned about earthquake-affected communities who still haven’t received any support.

Earthquake survivors light up fire outside the tent provided by Islamic Relief in village Lone. Communities are told not to put fire inside the tents as it could trigger an untoward situation.

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