QUETTA: The Baloch National Movement (BNM) has urged the international humanitarian organisations to step forward and directly help the Baloch victims, rather than relying on Pakistani authorities.
In a statement from London, BNM representative Hammal Haidar Baloch said BNM with the help of Baloch Students Organization – Azad (BSO-A) and some local NGOs, had been tirelessly working to provide relief assistance to the quake victims.
As thousands of quake survivors, mostly women and children, struggle for medical help, Pakistani authorities refuse to allow international aid agencies to work in the affected areas. This has further worsened the humanitarian situation, he added.
“According to doctors, 80% of quake victims are suffering from psychological problems including depression and hypertension. There is an extreme shortage of safe drinking water and almost every other patient is suffering from diarrhea. Doctors have also reported an alarming increase in the number of malaria patients,” he said. The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed its concern over displaced victims living under the open sky without any food, shelter and proper medical care. They have also warned that the numbers of malaria and diarrhea cases may rise in coming days and result in outbreaks.
He said on September 29, one day after the second quake, a team of private doctors from Quetta managed to collect medicines worth Rs.15million for the quake survivors. On their way to the affected areas, they were stopped by the army outside of Awaran and were asked to off-load the medicines and return back to Quetta. The medicines were left to spoil under the sun. He said using the disaster relief as a strategic advantage, the army has been expanding its military build up to target rebel sympathisers.
He said there were confirmed reports that the army is using relief aid to sustain its additional troops deployed in the areas. “In the past, world rights groups have acknowledged and strongly criticised Pakistani army’s brutality in Balochistan.”
Hammal said the people of Awaran had been protesting army’s presence and hampering of relief work in the devastated areas. “The people urge international humanitarian organisations to step forward and directly help the Baloch victims rather than relying on ill preparations of Pakistani authorities. We expect organisations concerned to play a crucial role in assuring international assistance to quake victims,” he added.
Published in The Balochistan Point on October 13, 2013