Updated: Dec 25th, 2005
Looking into the Allai valley, towards Bana, after coming off the Karakorum Highway.
These images came out of an exploratory trip to the Allai Tehsil, the Batagram Tehsil, and Kala Dhaka.
The Allai Valley (which comprises the Allai Tehsil, which is half of the Batagram District, which is part of the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan) is relatively high-elevation area. The eastern half usually migrates for the winter anyway, but many of the other areas usually remain. A good portion of the area has been covered by the Red Cross, Save the Children, and other NGO's, but a few Union Councils (UC's) remain in need, especially since the highest-elevation areas (now served only by helicopter) were prioritized and are now getting the services they need (well, some of them, anyway.) ACTED is considering working in some of those UC's, and it was to research that situation that we went to the valley.
Bana is the headquarters for all the NGO's working in the area. The Pakistani military, generally playing a coordinating role post-earthquake, is especially central to the work going on in the valley and, despite valid critiques of their role, it is helpful to have a focused coordinating body.
Making roti (various versions of chapatis and naans) in a street-side stall in Bana. The city is bustling with the energy of many so relief organizations working in the area and the attendant populations that come through to collect their relief goods.
My colleague Zia (barely visible) hard at work in some roadside store collecting information from locals in Bana about the area UC's villages and populations. It may seem simplistic, but to acquire such information one has to go to the place and just ask the locals. Accurate maps and databases, if they exist, are not available.
Any time a crowd like this forms it quickly grows as passers-by understandably want to make sure they get in on any distribution going down.
The ever-present helicopters overhead ferry supplies to harder-to-reach areas.
One of the biggest present emergency needs in the Allai Valley is for CGI (corrugated galvanized iron) sheets. Everywhere we went we saw frames erected, waiting for the sometimes-promised-sometimes-not sheets of CGI.
This village has only one water source. This pipe is the major gathering point for the villagers.
The needs for water and sanitation work are enormous. ACTED is investigating the potential of working in this area.
Along the side of the Karakorum Highway, north of the turnoff for the Allai valley, lies Mera Camp, one of the largest tent camps, housing something like 17,000 people. These images were taken from an average road, not an aircraft.