With thousands of bodies still trapped under rubble, it will be months, if not years, before the final death toll from the South Asia earthquake is known.
Official estimates are that about 74,000 people in Pakistan, Kashmir and Afghanistan have died. The real figure is believed to be closer to 100,000. At least 70,000 people were severely injured and around 3 million people left homeless, the vast majority in Pakistan. Aid agencies have only managed to reach around 45 per cent of the affected area, which is about the size of Belgium. It has already begun to snow in the higher reaches of the mountains in Pakistan, where many survivors are living in tents. Tens of thousands of people are dependent on aid for survival - and you can help them.
This year, 'The Independent on Sunday' has chosen ActionAid for its Christmas Appeal. The anti-poverty charity, which has had an office in Pakistan for the past 12 years, was one of the first to respond to the disaster. It has distributed 3,000 tents and 6,000 packs of food and basic supplies such as blankets. ActionAid has set up field offices in Mansehra and Batgram in the North West Frontier Province and is about to set up two more in Bagh and Muzaffarabad, in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. Five medical camps are in operation.
ActionAid is now concentrating on the most remote areas. Around 4,000 insulated corrugated iron shelters will be distributed before Christmas and thousands of packs of aid are handed out each week. Much more is needed.
ActionAid will use 75 per cent of your donations for earthquake relief work. The money will be available to Pakistan within days. The rest will go towards reducing the risk of future disasters worlwide.Reuse content