Winter in Pakistan – Newsletter # 33
Likely you have seen Pakistan earthquake relief operations on television. Although ADRA Pakistan has trucked much of its relief effort into the Bagh area, ADRA has received considerable assistance with helicopter deliveries and personnel transport as well. Since helicopter operations began, there have been only a few days when weather prevented helicopters from delivering relief supplies to the quake-stricken areas.
According to News International, Pakistan , by the end of December our United States helicopters had delivered more than 14 million pounds of humanitarian assistance to the earthquake struck areas since helicopter operations began October 10. The US is currently operating twelve CH47 Chinook helicopters along with four S70 Australian helicopters. During the past 80 days, US helicopters have flown more than 2,900 sorties, carried 14,156 passengers, evacuated 3,715 injured, and delivered more than 14 million pounds of humanitarian aid. The commencement of sling loading operations in November has allowed the US military to increase the rate at which it delivers aid.
In addition, the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), under the auspices of the United Nations World Food Programme, has also had sixteen MI-8 helicopters flying relief operations and plans to add more. (Although WFP organizes and manages the service, it is a common service for the benefit of all eligible users.) The MI-8 is specifically designed as a transport helicopter. Its interior seats are removable, it has tie-downs on the floor for securing cargo, and it has an internal winch for pulling loads in through its rear clamshell doors. In the earthquake relief operations, a more important feature now is its cargo sling system capable of carrying up to three tons.
Helicopter sling loading provides a significant advantage for the relief efforts. Traditionally, loading cargo inside a helicopter takes approximately 10-15 minutes, requires a landing maneuver and another 10-15 minutes to unload at the delivery site. When loading internally, the amount of humanitarian aid delivered was typically limited to about 5,000 pounds. By using sling loads, the CH47 Chinook is able to deliver more than 10,000 pounds of relief supplies to an affected area, hover, drop the supplies, and quickly fly out.
UNHAS has also provided a large number of cargo nets for the relief operations. After the supplies are dropped on the ground, the various NGOs and the Pakistani military work together to collect the nets for reuse.
Several people have asked how many families are yet homeless. John McGhee has responded that there is still a great need. The number of NGOs still delivering shelter and quilts is diminishing, and those still assisting in that regard are spread over the entire quake-affected region. John writes, “I have frequently asked the UN agencies for an accurate picture of how many people are still without shelters. They say it is impossible to know for sure.
“But most of us on the ground are aware that plenty of reports have been verified of villages where the data indicates families have received shelters, but in fact, they have not. According to our project director in Bagh, “so many people are begging for shelters. We simply cannot provide enough…”
“So the fight for life goes on.”
Please continue praying. God continues hearing and answering prayers. An example: John has to make a downpayment on every order, then he must pay in full upon delivery. No exceptions! All of which caused him a couple of sleepless nights last week when the delivery date was upon him and funds had not arrived. But God is never, ever late (though sometimes we humans may think He is, according to our own time schedules!).
Just in time the wire transfer arrived. Isn’t God good? Praise God, from Whom ALL blessings flow.