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Territory: 880,254 km²

Population: 182.6 million

Geographic characteristics

Due to its location, Pakistan is frequently hit by natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods. The damage on people and infrastructures is usually devastating since most houses are not earthquake-proof.

Natural Disasters in Pakistan

In 2005, an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale claimed the life of 86,000 people in the Kashmir region.

In the summer of 2010, the monsoon rains were so strong and long lasting that much of the country ended up under water. The country was heavily affected with the aftermath of the worst floods in over 80 years causing a humanitarian disaster: they caused 1.500 deaths and affected an estimated 20 million people.  Most of the infrastructure (bridges, roads, electricity and drinking water pipes, houses, schools and hospitals) was destroyed.  The floods took family’s valuables and possessions, destroyed their houses, ruined their harvest, and killed their animals. Furthermore, the wells were polluted, and diseases spread rapidly. Among the flood victims there were also many thousands Afghan refugees and internally displaced people.

In January 2011, a 7.2 earthquake shook the south-west of Pakistan. The earthquake, which hit the province of Balochistan, left only minor damages but thousands of people spent the night outside as a precaution.

DEMIRA in Pakistan

DEMIRA has been operational in Pakistan since the 2005 earthquake. Together with our local partners from the Humanitarian Assistance Society (HAS) in Pakistan the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) provided medical assistance to the victims in mountain villages in an height of 2,500 metres .

In 2006 DEMIRA conducted together with HAS a second humanitarian project in the earthquake area. This time, the focus laid on the supply of earthquake affected houses in the mountain village Balakot with tools and construction materials.

When in 2007 Pneumonia spread out through the earthquake refugee camps, DEMIRA deployed a medical team to treat the victims in the villages Balakot, Oghi and Galeath. This mission was supported by HAS too.

Being familiar with the area when the floods occurred in 2010, DEMIRA quickly decided to help. The Emergency Response Unit focused its efforts particularly on the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in the northwest of Pakistan. The flood victims there, who had lost their homes were living in refugee camps where cholera and malnutrition were becoming a huge problem, particularly amongst children and elderly. Other problems were also the lack of water, skin diseases and stomach problems.

With the help of donations from "Ein Herz für Kinder", "Barmherzigkeit" and the donations collected by Rolf Härdtner in his bakeries, DEMIRA put together a two ton shipment filled with aid supplies. The cargo contained: water purification systems (which can purify 4.5 liters of contaminated water into clean drinking water every hour), 50,000 water purification tablets, medicine against fever and diarrhea, antibiotics, salt for dehydration, food, and blankets. The aid supplies were distributed amongst the people by DEMIRA team members, pharmacist Rüdiger Kilian, and HAS.

Water filters from the aid shipment were also taken to a hard to reach area, where many of the wells had been destroyed. Besides the distribution of aid, DEMIRA also established two provisional clinics in the Swat valley to provide basic medical and emergency care. In addition, mobile medical offices were set up so that the medical care could reach people in more remote regions.

Dr. Kilian and our local partners placed an order for an additional aid shipment with DEMIRA HQ in Munich. With the help of a local doctor, Dr. Kilian assembled a list of urgently required medication that was sent in the new shipment. Vivantes pharmacy donated medical supplies worth EUR 5,000, and Dr. Colin Krüger escorted the aid shipment, which weighed approximately three tons. In total, DEMIRA sent five tons of aid to Pakistan.

Cows for Widows

Prior to leaving an acquaintance had given Dr. Kilian a private donation of EUR 1,000 with the instructions of using the money sensibly. Once in Pakistan, Kilian asked the representative of the Pakistani non-governmental organization HAS (Humanitarian Assistance Society) to talk to the village elder in a little town outside the gates of Peshawar, about buying cows with the money. The elders decided that the donation should be made to poor widows. Kilian was very pleased with the idea and decided to buy two cows, as each animal costs EUR 500 (including the transport to the family).  The next day he called some friends and asked for further donations, after which he was able to purchase two more cows.

Widows with children are often amongst the poorest of the community. A cow can give these families a chance for long term survival. The milk from a cow allows a widow to feed a family of eight. Furthermore, the surplus milk can be sold in the market and provides the family with a regular income.

Upon his arrival home, Killian continued to collect further donations. He named the initiative “Cows for Widows”, and set up an account for people to donate. Donors are able to pick the name of the cow.