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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05ISLAMABAD16190
2005-10-31 01:34:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Islamabad
Cable title:  

PAKISTAN EARTHQUAKE: UN TRYING TO GET UP TO SPEED

Tags:   AEMR  EAGR  EAID  ECIN  ECON  MASS  PGOV  PK  PREF  PREL  SENV  AESC  UN 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ISLAMABAD 016190 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SA AND EB
DEPT - PLEASE PASS TO USAID
KABUL - PLEASE PASS TO CFC-A

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/28/2015
TAGS: AEMR EAGR EAID ECIN ECON MASS PGOV PK PREF PREL SENV AESC UN
SUBJECT: PAKISTAN EARTHQUAKE: UN TRYING TO GET UP TO SPEED

REF: ISLAMABAD 16140 AND PREVIOUS

Classified By: Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, Reasons 1.5 (b) and (d)

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ISLAMABAD 016190

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SA AND EB
DEPT - PLEASE PASS TO USAID
KABUL - PLEASE PASS TO CFC-A

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/28/2015
TAGS: AEMR EAGR EAID ECIN ECON MASS PGOV PK PREF PREL SENV AESC UN
SUBJECT: PAKISTAN EARTHQUAKE: UN TRYING TO GET UP TO SPEED

REF: ISLAMABAD 16140 AND PREVIOUS

Classified By: Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, Reasons 1.5 (b) and (d)


1. (C) SUMMARY: Mission staff with direct interaction with
the UN's earthquake relief effort - from the team leader for
USAID's Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to emboffs
attending UN sectoral cluster groups -- characterize the UN
response thus far as "a day late and a dollar short," with
improvements coming slowly. Post gives UNICEF, the World
Food Program (WFP), UNHCR, and Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) relatively good marks, but the UN
Joint Logistics Center (UNJLC) and UN Humanitarian Air
Service (UNHAS) have gotten more mixed reviews. As the
resident UN representative in Pakistan has no/no background
in emergency relief operations, post believes that the UN
should immediately appoint an experienced disaster relief
coordinator to manage its humanitarian assistance programs in
Pakistan. END SUMMARY

UN Helicopter Support
--------------


2. (C) From the beginning of the relief effort following the
October 8 earthquake, U.S. military planners have worked
hand-in-glove with Government of Pakistan (GOP) civilian and
military authorities, with U.S. helicopters flying relief
supplies to affected areas shortly after the earthquake hit.
In contrast, twenty days after the disaster, many have
wondered what happened to the promised UN helicopters,
despite well-publicized UN promises to provide significant
additional airlift capacity unfulfilled. UNHAS has offered
twenty MI-8 and six or eight MI-26 helicopters, but DART is

skeptical that UNHAS can fund so many aircraft, noting that
one MI-26 costs $11,000/hour to operate, not including the
cost of the fuel. DART does credit UNHAS's newly-arrived
coordinator (a former U.S. Air Force officer) with doing a
good job setting up a joint air operations center that meshes
well with existing operations led by Pakistan military and
CENTCOM's Disaster Assistance Center-Pakistan (DAC). The
Embassy's Office of Defense Representative-Pakistan (ODRP)
also noted that UNHAS is close to finalizing an agreement
with the Pakistan Air Aviation to set up a forward operating
base in Abbotabad.

Logistic Coordination
--------------


3. (C) The UNJLC has been and continues to be slow in
becoming operational; some staff believe that UNJLC should
have helped get UN helicopters here faster. The World Food
Program (WFP) is working to maximize the use of existing
helicopters by purchasing a fleet of 90 30-ton trucks and 100
10-ton trucks to transit supplies to areas accessible by
road, in order to free up helicopters to supply the most
isolated areas.

Nutrition, Health Care and Education
--------------


4. (C) WFP deserves high marks for quickly opening its
warehouses in Afghanistan and sending trucks with high energy
biscuits to affected areas. WFP has not updated its initial
estimate of providing food for 1 million people; some experts
believe the true figure is actually between 2 and 2.5
million. WFP must also compile information on how many
farmers are harvesting crops and planting new ones, which
will determine how much food will be needed in the spring.


5. (C) On health care and education, the World Health
Organization is doing a good job. With Pakistan's already
underdeveloped health system in the North West Frontier
Province (NWFP) and Pakistan-controlled Azad Jammu Kashmir
(AJK) shattered by the earthquake, DART wonders whether the
GOP will be able to meet enormous needs over the long term.
DART has observed some disconnects, such as patients being
evacuated from Muzaffarabad even though hospital space was
still available there. UNICEF appeared to be working well
with the GOP to set up schools.

Shelter and Camp Management
--------------


6. (U) UNHCR, which leads the Camp Management cluster has
spent $7.6 million from its reserves to fly in over 860 tons
of relief supplies including 15,000 winterized tents. UNHCR
has been working closely with the GOP to establish camps for
earthquake survivors, but the difficult terrain in the areas
directly affected by the earthquake has made siting camp
locations difficult. Of the sixty sites suggested by the
GOP, UNHCR found that two-thirds did not meet UNHCR
standards. UNHCR is working in nine camps, with a potential
capacity of over 30,000. UNHCR is also in the process of
identifying the locations of the many informal, makeshift
camps in the earthquake-affected area, lending a hand to
organize and assist the larger ones. UNHCR has offered
technical assistance to the GOP for the camps the government
proposes to establish in Islamabad and outside the area
affected by the earthquake, but will not play a role in the
management of these camps. DART team members have noted that
UNHCR/Geneva is still debating whether UNHCR (vice the
International Organization for Migration) should assist
internally-displaced persons; this debate could delay UNHCR
actions.

Information Coordination
--------------


7. (U) DART appreciated OCHA's efforts to set up
Humanitarian Information Centers (HICs), which provide good
demographic, statistical, and mapping information. One HIC
is already running in Muzaffarabad, and two others slated for
Mansehra and Bagh.

Hit-or-Miss Coordination with the GOP
--------------


8. (SBU) Continuing a pattern post flagged early in the
crisis, no GOP representative attended the UN's October 27
Camp Management Cluster or Shelter Cluster meetings. The
government's failure to actively participate in this and
other UN cluster group meetings has been a continuing source
of frustration to the UN and its NGO partners, many of which
do not have sufficient experience with the GOP bureaucracy to
know how things get things done here.

Burning Through UN Funding
--------------


9. (C) With only one-third of the UN's original flash
funded, DART noted that WFP is already $40 million in the
red, UNICEF $29 million in the red and UNHAS was also deficit
spending.
Comment
--------------


10. (C) Comment: At best, the UN's coordination on the
ground has earned only middling marks three weeks into relief
operations. In many sectors, the UN has struggled to
identify and establish effective working relationships with
GOP contacts. The UN's lackluster performance to date stems
primarily from a deficit of emergency coordination expertise
and leadership. Resident UN Representative Jan Vanderhoosle
had only been in office a month before the October 8
earthquake, arriving in Pakistan after spending seven years
at UNHQ in New York. He has no/no emergency coordination
experience. Post believes that the U.S. must strongly push
the UN to send an experienced expert in disaster coordination
to lead the UN effort here. One name mentioned with approval
by the UK's Department for Internatioanl Development (and
which post would endorse) is Kevin Kennedy.
CROCKER