The despair is noticeable in the North Face climbers' dispatch, as they try to get to the people in Kashmir's isolated villages: We are eager to charge into the mountains and get to work, but are jumping through some hoops to obtain the necessary permits. The amount of work to be done is astronomical and on top of it all the winter is arriving. Some areas can only be reached by traversing over 11,000 foot Himalayan Mountain passes, dispatches Willie Benegas.
Heavy snowfall on quake affected areas: Nobody is coming to help us. Even God is angry with us. Please help us.

Posted: Dec 01, 2005 04:31 pm EST
(K2Climb.net) The season's first heavy snowfall covered the quake affected region of Kashmir yesterday. Temperatures have dropped dramatically in past few weeks. And in Pakistan, winter has claimed it's first victims: A young boy and an old man.

"In the next few days we will be buried under snow, an 82 year old man told a Reuters journalists as he pleaded to him: Nobody is coming to help us. Even God is angry with us. Please help us. Families are fearing their children wont survive the winter.

Victims of an angry god

The inhabitants of isolated valleys are facing the most immediate danger. Their destiny is said to be now in the hands of an angry God: Life has become extremely difficult, particularly for the children. Allah is angry with us. Allah, alone, can save us now," Mohammad Showkat Khan, the chief priest of Drangyari village (Indian Kashmir), told Reuters.

But help is in fact on the way. Both Indian and Pakistani authorities are doing their best to provide some form of aid. The North Face team reached Kashmir three days ago, ADEPTs team of volunteers is also ready to go waiting only for permits that will allow them access to the region.

However, the minutes are ticking by and time is quickly running out for the thousands left homeless in mountains.

Roads blocked choppers grounded

According to ADEPT, the border area around Karnah, in the Baramulla district, is now blocked following two and a half feet of snowfall. The Sriangar-Leh national highway has been officially closed for the six months of winter. All highway personnel have been withdrawn.

Officials warned that anybody still driving their vehicles on the highway will be doing so at their own risk. They have also warned of the inherent risk of landslides following heavy rains earlier in the season. Helicopters have now been grounded.

To make matters worse many villagers refuse to leave their land for fear of their property being stolen. And with no written property titles in the area, locals prefer brave the winter exposure rather risk losing what little they have left.

Temporary shelters built to house the homeless are virtually engulfed in mud after heavy rainfall swept across the region. Sanitary conditions are at their worst ever.

Shelters yet to be distributed

While relief organizations are building shelters as fast as they can, heavy rains and snowfall are not helping matters. They simply cannot build the structures fast enough for the ailing and the sick who have been suffering since the earthquake struck. A large number of tents and tin sheets purchased and stockpiled in order to provide shelter have yet to be delivered. And with the worsening weather conditions, it is unclear exactly when these much needed supplies can be delivered. ADEPT's partner, the Catholic Relief Services, has distributed about 28% of their tin sheets thus far.

The weather predictions do not look good for the people of Kashmir. Those located in isolated villages high in the mountains can expect to be without food, shelter or other aid if weather do not improve. Those already suffering from respiratory infection are at risk for pneumonia. While the children and the elderly are at risk of hypothermia.

How to help?

ADEPT:

Climbers, trekkers and volunteers ready to help in Indian Kashmir or seeking further information, please contact ADEPT crew at:

Academy for Disaster Management Education Planning & Training
#403, 4th Floor, 'B' Block, Prince Gardens
40 Thambusamy Road, Kilpauk
Chennai 600010 - India
Tel: 52602403(D), 52602407
Fax: 52602404
Email: contact@ADEPTasia.org

Greg Mortenson's Central Asia Institute:

Contact Central Asia Institute at:
PO Box 7209
Bozeman, MT 59771
Phone 406 585 7841
Fax 406 585 5302
Email cai@ikat.org
Web www.ikat.org

Alpinclub Sachsen team:

Mail pakistanhilfe@gmx.de if you want to help. Find also a bank account set up for donations to the project at www.alpinclub.com

Alpinclub Sachsen e.V.
Donation account Pakistan
Account Holder: Alpinclub Sachsen e.V.
Account Number: 030 866 28 02
BLZ 850 800 00
Dresdner Bank AG IBAN DE39 850 800 00
SWIFT DRES DE FF

Field Touring Alpine:

Send your donated gear via:

Post (within Australia):
FTA QUAKE RELIEF EFFORT
PO BOX 535, NORTH PERTH
WA, 6906, AUSTRALIA

Drop gear off at any Mountain Designs Store in WA or to any Mountain Designs stores located in the capital cities of:
Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne or Perth. For a full list of recipient stores please, check FTA's website (check first link in links section).

Post (in the US - before November 18th):
The American Alpine Club
Pakistan Relief Fund
710 Tenth Street, Suite #100
Golden, CO 80401

Further information in the UK:
Contact Roland Hunter
roland@themountaincompany.co.uk
Ph: 0207 498 0953
A drop off network is currently being finalized For UK donors.

Email: info@themountaincompany.co.uk

Globalgiving / The North Face

Ship your gear donations to:
Kashmir Earthtquake Relief
1835 Apex Avenue Los Angeles, CA.
90026 USA

For monetary donations, contact GlobalgIVING AT:
http://www.globalgiving.com/cb/cidi/kashmir.html

Alpine Club of Pakistan:

Contact ACP for further information, or donate via the following back account:

NBPAPKKAA02R
712447-0
Lt Col (Retd) Manzoor Hussain,
Alpine Club of Pakistan
National Bank of Pakistan Cantonment Branch,
Rawalpindi, Pakistan.


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