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Earthquake Project - Temporary Housing For Village Families

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Should ADP support temporary housing project in partnership with 'Relief Tent Drive'?
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Omar Biabani

Joined: 28 Jan 2005
Last Visit: 06 Jan 2008
Posts: 93
Location: Boston, MA
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 3:36 pm    Post subject: Earthquake Project - Temporary Housing for village families Reply with quote

Dear ADPers,

There is no doubt that the biggest challenge faced by the earthquake survivors is shelter from cold, winter months. Reports coming in from all over stress on one thing only: need more tents! Although the government is actively working to provide shelter for these survivors, the sheer magnitude of destruction makes it impossible to reach out every one especially when there is extreme shortage of tents.

In this extreme need of shelter and in the spirit of humanity and development, ADP must consider supporting efforts on the ground to protect families from harsh winter. Remember, they need to live in order to improve their lives.

Relief Tent Drive (, a group purchasing and delivering tents to villages, has asked for ADP's collaboration at this crucial time.

Please take a look at the attached proposal. As decided during our meeting, due to the critical nature of the need, we have to accelerate the process of project selection. I propose a 30 hour window after which we should decide the outcome. Thank you guys for all your support.

Last edited by Omar Biabani on Mon Oct 31, 2005 11:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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Adnan Khalid

Joined: 25 Jan 2005
Last Visit: 14 May 2009
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Location: Boston, MA
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don’t think there is any question about the critical need and the expected impact of this project. Also there is no financial support required from ADP. This fact and the unique surrounding circumstances make this a very different project for ADP. The risks I see in this are mainly two:
- By supporting such an effort on any scale smaller than what a major international or national governmental or non-governmental organization could and would support, ADP may contribute to more chaos with little benefit at the cost of wasting resources of the community
- This whole project may abruptly get killed because the government bans selling of tents to anyone but the government or another similar reason. In this case the harm would be mainly to ADP’s reputation, but hopefully not to the recipients of the tents, as presumably all the tents that could be manufactured will be distributed amongst them

To me the team behind this appears to be efficient and trustworthy. All things considered, I would support going forward with this effort.
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Tarim Wasim

Joined: 28 Jan 2005
Last Visit: 17 Apr 2011
Posts: 160
Location: San Francisco
PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


I am in favor of this idea as well, but am concerned about supporting something that may end up being ineffective. Sarah's reply to your tent ban question did not appear to be definitive. Can we confirm that they do not fall under the tent ban, and will remain very unlikely to fall under a future one for some reason? The CARE update certainly makes it sound like it is effective for "all" tents.

Also, I would rather support an NGO with experience and strong prospects for long-term presence in the area. This group is doing great work, but is most likely a temporary effort. However, if we feel that we are unlikely to find an NGO soon, we should consider RTN.

We should agree on an online voting process for this soon and set a deadline.

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Khurram Jamali

Joined: 12 Jun 2005
Last Visit: 10 Oct 2011
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Location: Beijing, China
PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I an also in favor of the project, but share similar concerns to Tarim and Adnan.

My biggest concern is that the government will clamp down on these types of tents as well, and I would love some kind of confirmation that it won't, but I don't think we will be able to get that.

As far as doing this with a bigger NGO as opposed to RNT goes, I think it might actually be beneficial because firstly, we know the people personally and can vouch for their intentions, and secondly, they seem to have grass root contacts in both the villages that know the lay of the land better than a bigger NGO might.

Additionally, if we do go forward with this, after the first two villages, we can try to put the RNT group in touch with more people on the ground that have grass roots contact; I think we can definitely add value to their plan, and considering that we do not have to fund this but just provide an avenue for raising funds, I think its a risk we should consider taking.
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Omar Biabani

Joined: 28 Jan 2005
Last Visit: 06 Jan 2008
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Location: Boston, MA
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Latest updates From Relief Tent Drive

1) Tent status - from the funds received so far - is as follows:

-We have delivered 21 tents to villages that had not received any aid, through a small personal distribution network of peons to the village of Elahi and through Omar Asghar Khan Foundation.

-30 tents were mobilized and on their way to Pindi and via Bagh, to the village of Laoir. The expected delivery date to the village of Laoir is Tuesday, November 1, 2005.

-50 tents have been ordered and are currently being manufactured, also to be delivered to Laoir.

The map of where we have/are sending the tents can be found at the following URL:

2) Regarding the tent ban, our coordinator Khadeeja Balki shared the below (she's the one coordinating with tent suppliers and our tent distribution):

"Last night I spoke with our primary tent supplier, Tariq Mian with Image Graphic Solutions. (We just sent 44 tents to EHD this morning-IGS supplied them.) The ban does not affect him, us or the recepient, for now. The ban does not affect us because we are not working with members of the Tenting and Manufacturing Association."

Further, Khadeeja spoke both with Mr. Raja (EHD) and Humayoun (Village of Laoir), two recipients/distributers of the tents we've ordered and are in the process of delivering so far. Both groups are coordinating heavily with the army, whereas Humayoun has arranged for an army escort from Pindi to Bagh. Given that the Army has not interfered with their efforts, and have instead coordinated with them, we very strongly feel that we will not be affected by the news we have been hearing.

3) While we had realized a few days ago that we need to be working under the banner of a registered organization in the US and had thus contacted you, after ADP had submitted a proposal to its members, Paypal contacted our US based team (yesterday) - they were interested to note that we have raised in excess of $5,000 as we have asked for donations based on charity while our payments so far had been going to a personal account. They are currently looking into our process, and as a pre-emptive measure, we would like to finalize things as fast as possible with ADP. As a result, we are extremely anxious about any help that ADP can provide us, as due to the urgency of the matter, we are unable to register as an organization in the U.S. Please also note that until this issue with Paypal is resolved, we have stopped taking donations via Paypal on our blog. However, we are still continuing our work through other donations we receive.

If ADP approves working with us, we will let all donations go to ADP, earmarked as "Tent Drive" or what you think best, and request ADP to route all our funds to EHD (instead of a personal account in the US or in Pakistan - as we want to be as transparent as possible). EHD, a registered non-profit organization in Pakistan, has kindly agreed to earmark all our tent-related funds separately so that we can access them to order tents/all other forms of shelter and supply to other areas that we identify.

4) Please note that our Pakistan-based team is constantly trying to also look for better alternative forms of shelter than just tents, as we do realize that while tents as a shelter is better than nothing and makes a difference between life and death, it will not last them a long time. We have been hearing reports from organizations working on the ground that villagers have been coming to NGOs requesting for tin sheets to re-build their houses (tin is readily available at the moment). This form of shelter will cost Rs. 10,000 (with a tin sheet anywhere between Rs.500 - 800 each), less than what the heavy-winterized tents are costing us, so if we raise sufficient funds, we may also work to provide this form of shelter as well. We are awaiting answers to hear as to the durability of these structures, and/or receive any photos before making this decision. I thought I would share this with you so that you are aware that we are not entirely looking at tents only - but rather the best form of shelter as fast as possible.

(RTD Team - October 30th, 2005)
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Justin Stone

Joined: 08 Feb 2005
Last Visit: 12 Mar 2007
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Location: Cambridge, MA USA
PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2005 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with all of the concerns, but feel they don't outweigh the benefits (to those in need) of moving forward asap.

Assuming we are committed to providing shelter before the winter, we don't have the luxury of time to identify a project with another NGO that is already focusing on the long-term rebuilding.

I am also not concerned about competing with the efforts of larger releif orgs. RTD has wisely focused it's efforts on areas that have not been reached by other orgs. Even if a competitive circumstance were to arise, RTD seems thorough, resourceful, and nimble enough to direct the tents to other such communities.

Right now, the Gov't is saying 300,000 tents will be in place by the end of November. This is not enough. We can add value by providing more, and I can think of no more effective approach than that undertaken by RTD.

To address the concern about the Govt possibly cutting off their supply of tents from Pakistan, we should work with RTD to establish a contigency plan. Perhaps the tents from China we have discussed...

Regarding the long-term perspective, we should try to work with RTD (and possibly EHD) to turn this into a long-term development initiative for the same population. But, this can happen once the releif effort is underway.

I think we should turn this into a vote asap, and conlude within 24 hours!

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Omar Biabani

Joined: 28 Jan 2005
Last Visit: 06 Jan 2008
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Location: Boston, MA
PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2005 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


I have added a poll to this thread (top of the thread). The poll will be active for next 24 hours.

Poll Question

Should ADP support temporary housing project in partnership with 'Relief Tent Drive'?

- ADP will treat this like any other project where we adopt the project, contribute to project implementation decisions, and fund the NGO (in this case social activists, not a registered NGO) contingent upon execution that is consistent with the spirit of the funding commitment

- The purpose of the drive is very clear, but the scope may evolve over the coming weeks, given the fluidity of the situation

- Due to the urgency of this need, we will have to respond within 24 hours
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Khurram Jamali

Joined: 12 Jun 2005
Last Visit: 10 Oct 2011
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Location: Beijing, China
PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2005 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wanted to consider adding another dimension to this effort. While in NYC for the recording of a program where I was representing ADP I met some American (of Pakistani as well as caucasian descent,) that had just flown back from the village of GarriDupatta in Kashmir. All of them emphasized the need for two products in all the affected areas: Tents and "LPG Stoves." Although they could not give me a detailed explanation as to why LPG stoves were the specific requirement, apparently it had something to do with ventilation. I am going to do some more research into what makes LPG stoves different from other stoves, and maybe we can talk to RTD about incorporating these stoves into their program as well; the way the doctors talked about it, they seemed to be nearly as important as the tents.
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Khurram Jamali

Joined: 12 Jun 2005
Last Visit: 10 Oct 2011
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Location: Beijing, China
PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2005 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a World Bank article about how LPG fuels can limit indoor pollution, which in the case of tents can probably be very dangerous, with the little available space.
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Khurram Jamali

Joined: 12 Jun 2005
Last Visit: 10 Oct 2011
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Location: Beijing, China
PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2005 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Sarah Karim:

Salaams all -

Khurram, I write specifically with your two postings recently under the topic discussion of "Earthquake Project - Temporary Housing for village families" where you pointed out the great need for tents as well as LPG stoves. I refrain from directly posting on the forums because I'm the contact point for this project, and don't want to make people uncomfortable who don't know me by posting.

As it would be, I handle corporate social responsibility (CSR) for an LPG company - Progas Pakistan is a joint-venture multi-national that imports, bottles, stores and distributes LPG all over Pakistan, and we're building the only LPG import terminal at Port Qasim in Karachi. As part of my job, I regularly look for organizations to partner with re: women's empowerment, environment (indoor pollution and automotive sector) and education to provide LPG in areas where it is needed - which is partially why I've come across a lot of random NGOs these past few months working on these ( i.e. energy-related) issues.

Anyway, sorry for the background of a speel, but I've been trying to contact different NGOs to see how Progas can provide LPG to those areas that need it (i.e. specifically those affected by the quake). A couple of quick things to note:

1) LPG has a prohibitive cost as an initial cylinder deposit costs about Rs. 1200 - Rs. 1500 (think of those big Pepsi/Sprite bottles that you'd get for family parties here that aren't disposable, and you pay Rs. 15/20 for deposit, and can either get your deposit back when you return the bottle, or can just buy a new one instead w/out paying a new deposit), and then each cylinder "re-fill" (although technically cylinders are just switched so consumer has a filled cylinder instead) costs around Rs. 250 - 500 (depending on the market forces of supply/demand; it's generally at the higher end in the winter season).

2) LPG is in extremely extremely high demand in the winter season - independent of the earthquake that happened. In fact, in Pakistan, there's a huge latent demand of LPG in general (there's not been enough supply, which is why my Company is building this terminal), and in the winter there's a massive black market that exists with LPG, especially in the Northern areas. Thus, we as a Company are very careful who we work with as distributors, especially as it's we promote Health and Safety standards that need to be maintained (otherwise, decanting illegally takes place, which can lead to explosions and inevitably, death). It is because of this black market that it's extremely important that the LPG supply line is maintained and monitored.

3) On a related note to supply: it is very difficult to provide LPG cylinders to remote areas - where RTD is focusing on - except for in major cities because the supply line for any LPG company has not been very developed - as it is, all LPG sold into the major cities is already heavily consumed, so marketing/distribution companies don't work beyond the main cities (Progas will be developing a Rural Marketing route after we start importing massive quantity come entire completion of our plant in December; for the moment we're distributing locally produced LPG). Thus, even if LPG stoves are initially provided, the question would arise as to what happens once the initial cylinder(s) have been consumed - where would the villagers get their supply?

Taking all these factors above, it would an extreme challenge to incorporate LPG stoves into the tent/shelter drive we're working on - not that the need doesn't exist, which is what I've been finding in my conversations. I spoke to a UNDP official yesterday that technically handles small grants/LPG projects in Pakistan, because I'm trying to set up community kitches in the lower plains areas where tent cities/temporary hospitals have been set up so that LPG can be provided effectively to those areas, and he also pointed out the great need for the stoves, but agreed that lack of regular supply and/or the black market makes LPG stoves extremely difficult to supply in the higher terrains.

Hope that provides you some more perspective on LPG. It's a great idea - and I'd personally *love* to implement it, especially knowing all the qualities of LPG (cost-effective w/regards to other cheaper fuels such as kerosene, better for the internal and external environment, prevents deforestation as villagers aren't consuming wood etc.) - but given the terrain and the LPG market in Pakistan at the moment, just very difficult to implement. If you've come across any alternative ideas that may be able to address these issues, do definitely share. In the meanwhile, as part of my job, i'll continue working on this stuff and if I come up with any solutions, will keep you posted.


p.s. Feel free to post this to the forums if you see fit.
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Omar Biabani

Joined: 28 Jan 2005
Last Visit: 06 Jan 2008
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Location: Boston, MA
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2005 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Folks,

ADP approved the RSD project on our forums (this thread) last week and we have promptly setup a web page to help those in desperate need of shelter against the harsh winter. The page describes this ongoing project and allows donors to fund this initiative --

Even though this project is slightly different from our past projects, it is not completely out of ADP's working model. We have, and should continue to, apply the same criteria of project selection like we typically do for other projects. However, due to the urgency of need, only the pace should be accelerated. We have applied the same principles of ensuring

- NGO reliability and response
- NGO and project transparency
- Proposal submission, discussion and voting process
- Project criteria application (Critical, Measurable, Sustainable, Scalable, Innovative -- this is where we differ from past projects, due to the nature of crisis at hand.)
- Project progress and success measurement via feedback from implementation team
- Relationship building for future development opportunities

Please visit the webpage and give me your feedback for further improvements.
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Omar Biabani

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Location: Boston, MA
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 10:56 am    Post subject: Shelter Drive Update - Photos of Bori Shelter Reply with quote

Shelter Drive Update - Photos of Bori Shelter

Assalam alaykum all -

As many of you know, Relief Shelter Drive (RSD) has been liaising with volunteers working in the Surul Valley in Bagh, and with a combination of funds provided for shelter (specifically bori shelters), and arrangement of funds by other private individuals for medicine, we have helped contribute partially to the efforts of an independent team of volunteers working on the ground in Surul, which included one RSD volunteer Imran Saithna, who we'd been liaising with.

Please find below an email written by Khurram Husain, one of the individuals of this independent team. Kindly note that the budget mentioned below are funds raised independently by private individuals, and not by RSD, as RSD has only partially contributed up to this point to Surul, and primarly in the form of shelter. It is useful to read the report below, and then peruse through Imran's photos (uploaded yesterday) of the people in the valley:

Subject: Report from Surul
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2005 13:21:20 +0500

Dear Friends,

We have just returned from our second trip to the village of Surul in
Bagh district, Kashmir. This is to bring you up on what we have found
from our work in the field so far.

Surul suffered 100 percent destruction during the quake. Not a single
structure was left standing or without substantial damage. The
village covers a large area from the mountaintops to the road below.
Mountain villages tend to be far more spread out than villages in the
plains, which are clustered close together. The population of the
village is reported between 3000-3500, with 1800 registered voters.
The average household size is between 8-10 members and there were a
reported 300 houses in the village according to 1998 census data,
corroborated by the locals. There were 3 primary schools in the
village, all destroyed. A lot of families have grazing fields high up
on the slopes where they move during summer time with their livestock,
and agricultural plots of less than 3 acres where they arrive by
August for the harvest. The main crop is corn, harvested in August,
dried on rooftops, and ground into a fine flour for winter storage.

We had planned a modest distribution exercise for about 50 families in
the village, funded from private donations sent in by friends and
relatives. Combined with other amounts donated we managed a budget of Rs
376,000 for this activity alone. More money is currently in the
pipeline, including the sums that many of you have donated.

With these resources, we were able to accumulate supplies far in
excess of what we had originally planned, including flour, lentils,
cooking oil, salt, and tents. We also received donated blankets,
bedding, and warm clothing for women and children in quantities
sufficient to provide for 100 families.

We arrived in Surul the evening of Friday, November 4th, which
happened to be Eid day. We set up our campsite on the grounds of the
people we had made contact with on our previous visit. Our team
consisted of 16 people (including 3 women): 3 doctors to staff and run
the clinic, 5 mountaineers to conduct door-to-door assessments, and
miscellaneous volunteers to staff and run the distribution point.

On the morning of the 5th, our assessment team left with notepads and
a walkie talkie to assess the households on the slopes above. They
started from the most remote houses and worked their way down the
slope. The medical team opened the clinic, and the rest of us
arranged and inventoried all the relief goods for distribution.

Within an hour or so, people started arriving with chits issued by our
assessment team and relief items were issued to them according to what
was stated on the chits. Food rations and tents were in high demand.
Soon groups of women began arriving, upon hearing the news that there
are women at the distribution point. Distribution tends to be a
largely male affair, so it was good to have women on our team. Men
seem primarily interested in marketable items such as tents, whereas
the women were more in tune with the domestic needs of their
households, and asked for blankets, warm clothing for their children,
and food. Wherever women showed up for collection, we decided to
allocate additional items since one could be very sure that relief
items issued to women will go directly to the needs of the family,
whereas with men one was unsure whether the items will be sold on the
market. Women also showed a greater tendency to share with neighbors
and relatives in need whereas men tended to think primarily of
themselves. One of the great successes of our trip, in fact, was the
extent to which we were able to reach out to the women of the village.

At one point, I took a small walk up the slope with the villagers.
Their hospitality and manners were unscathed by their circumstances,
and everywhere I went offers of tea and biscuits were in abundance
from people living in shelters stitched from flour sacks. It was
virtually impossible to turn these offers down. I was showed the
rubble of house after house and the stories that went with each pile
of rubble. "Here is where my brother was buried for six hours, this
is the hole we dug to pull him out." "This is where my mother and 3
children were crushed, they were in the kitchen at the time."

I was taken to a shed atop a hill. The tin roof was still intact and
standing on 6 wooden beams, while the walls had all fallen in. The
place was strewn with rubble and rocks. On the day of the earthquake,
the houses all collapsed within a matter of seconds. Following the
collapse, landslides began from the mountain slopes above us and huge
boulders rained down on the village, destroying whatever was left and
crushing everyone in their path. Landslides of mud, gravel and rock
falls made the area treacherous for those who were not buried under
the rubble. Some ran to their houses to pull out family members.
Others ran to the school to look for their children. All day, rescue
and excavations were carried out with bare hands, amidst the rock
falls and landslides constantly thundering down the slopes.

At night the rains began. Many of those surviving were severely
wounded, with multiple compound fractures. As darkness fell, the rain
turned to hail and in their desperation for shelter, the rescue
efforts had to be abandoned. The only structure which could provide
any shelter was the shed I was standing in. Close to 400 people
huddled underneath its roof, standing only on 6 beams, while
hailstorms lashed the darkness all around them.

And then the aftershocks started.

They told me of how the earth began to shake once again, and the roof
of the shed began to wobble. For a long time, they said, it seemed
like the shed was going to collapse on top of the 400 people huddled
beneath it. Amongst them were the severely wounded, and at least 4
dead bodies. Someone from amongst them started to pray out loud, and
then everybody joined in. They sat there all night, praying in
desperate unison for the shed to hold, with hailstorms all around
them, and the earth shaking beneath them. Over 900 aftershocks have
been recorded since the earthquake, some of them measuring 5.6 and
above on the Richter scale.

I ended my tour of the devastation over a cup of tea and biscuits with
a nearby family and walked back down to the distribution point. More
people had showed up to collect their relief items. Our team was busy
up on the slopes above. Outside the tent clinic, a large crowd had
gathered, children with bandages on their arms, legs, heads. Our
medical team was busy vaccinating anyone who had not received a
tetanus shot yet. Children cried and threw tantrums before their
injections, to the amusement of the adults standing around, but were
quickly cheered up afterward by juice and candy as reward for their
bravery. We had an excellent medical team -- sensitive, professional,

In all, we distributed enough relief supplies to provide shelter,
rations, and medical aid for over 100 households over two days. On
the evening of November 6th, we packed up our campsite and loaded our
trucks for the journey back. Our hosts showed up to bid us farewell.
"It's sad to see you all leave, we wish we could have given you more
hospitality." It was futile to explain to them that we had not come
to enjoy their hospitality, but to fulfill our obligations. Even
after all they had been through, their culture, manners and basic
norms of civilized conduct were intact.

It's incredible to think that there are hundreds of thousands of such
stories strewn across the villages of this mountainous region. In
every village of every valley, in the towns and cities, one hears
stories of the most incredible tests of human endurance. One
colleague, on a visit to a hospital in Muzaffarabad, saw an old man
desperately pleading with doctors to not amputate his 7 year old son's
leg. "You cut off my other son's leg yesterday, please spare this
one, how will I make it through life with two disabled sons?" The
doctors insisted there was no other way, the gangrene would spread to
the entire body otherwise, and carted the boy off to the surgical ward.

Another friend, who is a correspondent for BBC, writes in a personal

"A 78-year-old blind man - holding on to his ageing
wife climbing 5300-ft up a hill from his village, descending
5300-ft on the other side, getting two bottles of water (with his wife
getting a kilo of sugar and five packets of biscuits), climbing
5300-ft back to the top of the hill, descending the same distance to
get back to his village. All for the only survivor in his family - a
five year old child who is left in the care of a neighbour all this
time. This couple will do the same routine every second day till the
snow cuts off their only topsy turvy and at places exceedingly
dangerous route to life. After that, all they can do is wait to die."

The stories of survival and endurance are in their tens of thousands.
On our way up we passed a truck full to the brim with prosthetic
limbs. The papers speak of an entire generation that has been wiped
out with the collapse of schools and colleges. UNICEF confirms that
half of the 84,000 plus casualties as per the official numbers are
schoolchildren and college going kids. The scale of the disaster is
difficult to comprehend. In Surul, they pointed me towards a blue
tarpaulin high up on a mountain slope, visible only as a dot. "We
pulled out 16 dead bodies from the rubble of that house." Surul alone
suffered between 200-250 dead. The last of these bodies was excavated
on the last day of our visit. And the winter has only just begun.

Sarah Karim
Pakistan Relief Shelter Drive (RSD) Team
Karachi, Pakistan
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Omar Biabani

Joined: 28 Jan 2005
Last Visit: 06 Jan 2008
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Location: Boston, MA
PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 10:19 pm    Post subject: RSD's new and updated website Reply with quote

Our partner Relief Shelter Drive just launched its new and updated website. Check out the latest efforts ADP is supporting in partnership with RSD (new pictures added to this website)
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Omar Biabani

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Location: Boston, MA
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 3:04 pm    Post subject: Relief Shelter Project Update Reply with quote

Dear Team Members,

Here is a cumulative update of RSD’s efforts, to date:

1) Partners
2) Core Decision Makers in Karachi
3) Provision of Shelter – total
4) Number of funds collected to date – total
5) Note on fund collection in the UK
6) Strategy moving forward

1) RSD has partnered with the following groups:

a. Nomad Volunteers: consisting of a loose group of international volunteers, self-named Nomad Volunteers has been setting up shelter and engaging in distribution of aid in the Bagh valley, and were the first to set up a prototype of a bori shelter model in Surul (pictures shared on website). Our primarily contact within Nomad Volunteers was Imran Saithna (who is now back in the UK) and Wesley Olson (who is currently based out of Islamabad, although is a volunteer here from LA). Nomad Volunteers’ primary source of funds has been through RSD, and we continue to work with them to help distribute shelter in areas they have been volunteering in. Through working with this group, RSD has received publicity on
b. Group of individuals in Hong Kong, who ordered 250+ tents from their own funds more than three weeks ago. These winterized tents will be arriving within a week or so (they were being shipped) and will most likely be distributed in lower plain regions to those affected by the quake, as tents are still viable in those areas (i.e. Islamabad/Pindi etc.)
c. Indus Earth ( – is working in the two villages of Kaffal Garh and Hans Chowki. RSD has gathered information of their plans for reconstruction, and have collaborated with them by purchasing tin sheets from RSD funds to distribute to villagers in those particular villages
d. EHD – RSD has been working heavily with teams of EHD who have been doing needs’ assessments, and RSD has been facilitating and/or purchasing different forms of shelter as identified by these teams.
e. An independent group of Architects, informally known as JAAG Pakistan, have constructed a prototype of a bori shelter model in Karachi. RSD partnered with JAAG to replicate this prototype in the village of Bela (near Balakot) in NWFP, and benefited and passed on the knowledge learned from developing a variation of the shelter implemented by the Nomad Volunteers.

2) At the moment, the RSD Karachi decision making team consists of a small group of individuals with independent sources of funds, including funds raised through ADP in the US. This core group of individuals have been meeting to discuss strategy and share all information gathered, atleast once a week if not more. These include Khadeeja Balkhi, Sarah Karim, Khayyam Rajpoot and Shahzad Alim. The latter two, affiliated with prominent multinationals and with access to their own funds and distribution networks, have used information provided by Khadeeja and Sarah to conduct field visits with independent groups (including RSD’s partners above) to the sites up North, and based on information gathered, we have been collectively trying to determine:
a. What type of shelter is the best to use
b. Which area to target
c. How to deploy teams to target those areas and distribute shelter most effectively

There has been a delay in a provision of updates because these visits were taking place, and we were hearing contradictory information that needed to be verified in person by individuals above.

2) To date RSD and its partners have accomplished the following milestones in the form of shelter:

a. 21 single ply tents delivered to Allai
b. 30 winterized tents delivered to Laoir
c. 50 single-ply tents delivered to Laoir
d. 5 tents for schools to displaced communities in Dhak, Patar, Hans Chowki and Faraashtown
e. 1 tent for a dispensary in Hans Chowki
f. 121 tents purchased through independent funds and distributed to Seri, Chaprian (right below Hans Chowki), Bolasa, Nakar, Namdar, villages near Shinkiari, Faraashtown, and other displaced communities in Islamabad
g. 30 tents to Shinkiari
h. 25 homes to Kafal Garh – in the form of corrugated tin sheets
i. 20 homes to Keri, Dhirkot – in the form of corrugated tin sheets
j. 9 homes to Hans Chowki – in the form of corrugated tin sheets
k. 1 bori shelter in Surul
l. 1 bori shelter in Bela
m. 410 winterized tents provided to Surul through Khayam’s independent source of funds
n. Total: 314 + 410 = 724 forms of shelter provided

3) Significant lessons learnt:
a. It has been decided that despite the warmth of bori shelters, as is evident from the original prototype set up a month ago by Nomad Volunteers, these are not the best models. This can be attributed to the fact that the two regions that RSD teams tried out the shelter: in the villages of Surul (Bagh/Kashmir) with Nomad Volunteers and Bela (Balakot/NWFP) with JAAG Pakistan, there has to be excessive enthusiasm inculcated in the villagers and community mobilization has been extremely challenging to date. Further, sand needs to be readily available in order to build the shelter, and as it has rained and snowed already in some of these areas, it has been tougher to use.
b. Apart from its initial deliveries, RSD is not providing to areas originally identified because we were either unable to verify a continuous distribution network in those particular regions or they have received some form of shelter already. Thus, RSD will not be working in Aligra or Laoir anymore, and is instead verifying areas through visits by RSD team members and partners.

4) Funds collected so far include:
a. $23,558 from ADP
b. $10,760 from the RSD Blog
c. $2955 by RSD volunteers in the UK
d. $5862 by RSD volunteers independent of blog/ADP
e. TOTAL: $43,135
(Note: Additional funds from the groups of the other two persons mentioned in Point 2 are also being deployed to areas identified by RSD and partners)

5) Note about fundraising in the UK: UK RSD volunteers Mustafa Hadi and Rameez Kaleem worked hard for about two weeks to obtain tax-exemption status for RSD in the UK, similar to what we have done in the U.S. We were able to initiate and develop a positive relationship with FLAME in the UK (, but at the last minute, due to a UK tax law FLAME had been unaware of, we were unable to progress. We thank Mustafa and Rameez for their hard work. We are pleased to share in this regard that donations in the UK can still be made to a RSD bank account in the UK, although charity exemption will not be possible.

6) Strategy Moving Forward
Villagers, across the region, are generally building their own homes by building their wall structures using wood, mud and stone rescued from the debris. Their needs as expressed by them is that of corrugated tin sheets – something corroborated by various NGOs, the UN and other relief workers working on the ground:

"There has been a sort of lethargy among the people here. It's the shock of the earthquake. But the freezing temperatures and the snow they can see just a few hundred metres higher up the mountain have at last galvanised them into action. They're beginning to salvage what they can from the debris and with the metal sheet roofing, working fast to prepare for the winter." (

As a result, RSD will be spending a bulk of its money towards provision of such shelter, with a home costing anywhere between Rs.5000 to Rs.7500.

RSD will continue to work in areas where we:

i. Have verified and double checked through different organizations and individuals we trust that there is a need present of shelter
ii. One or more of our team members will be on the ground distributing the shelter after the verification
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