Islamabad, Nov 7 : The Pakistan Government is learnt to be facing shortage of tents for the quake-hit people in Balochistan. But, it is going to start the distribution of whatever tents are available with it from today.
"The first consignment of 200 winterised tents has arrived from the United Kingdom and its distribution will start on Friday," the Dawn quoted National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) chairman Farooq Ahmad Khan as saying last evening.
200 more tents donated by the Rotary Club would reach in a few days, he said and added that a request for more tents had been made to the institution.
He said the tents would be distributed in a transparent manner to ensure that these were not given only to the favourites of nazims and officials.
Khan also said that it was difficult to withstand the harsh weather conditions without winterised tents in the quake-affected areas, but added there were difficulties in acquiring these tents.
He said blankets, quilts, warm jackets and sleeping bags in large quantities had been distributed among the affected people to cope with the harsh weather. A total of one lakh blankets had so far been transported, and there were 40,000-50,000 in the stocks and another 20,000 were released on Thursday.
He conceded that the idea of establishing two tent villages had to be dropped because the people wanted individual tents and they were not ready to move to makeshift villages.
Dispelling a perception about NDMA's alleged poor response to the disaster, he said 3200 tents had been in Quetta the day the earthquake struck, adding that 2000 of these were rushed to the affected areas and the rest were sent the following day.
Gen Farooq also rejected as baseless an impression that some 30,000 children had been forced to live in the open in the quake-hit areas and said that the number of destroyed houses was 1500 to 2000 and the total number of displaced people was somewhere between 7000 to 10,000. "Had the information about such a large number of children's exposure to cold been correct, many of them must have died by now," he added.
He claimed that there was no dearth of food and medicines, and the situation was well under control. He said three medical teams of the Army and 24 of the Balochistan government were operating in these areas and 18 ambulances were in the area and the Ziarat District Hospital was functioning and providing treatment to those in need.