...back to the journal

Updated: Jan 11th, 2006

Satbani is another distribution point for ACTED. It is near Balakot, in the Kaghan valley.

ACTED field officer Adil and a local survivor hold up pictures of children that died in the rubble beneath them. The faces in the photographs and the comfort of the homes they are pictured in seem unreal given the almost lifeless destruction that remains.

Water supply is a key issue in the Satbani area. The three main water pipes in the area were all destroyed. Here a dry, dusty basin and a faucet wait for some kind of reconstruction project.

Women are the water-gatherers, as usual. Women and girls must walk distances up and down hills to collect the minimum amounts needed. Water shortages, besides requiring more energy expenditure for basic survival, often cause problems around sanitation and cleanliness; the rates of skin problems and other avoidable diseases rise when there is scarce water for cleaning.

The ACTED model shelter, at the base camp in Satbani. Built in part to show locals the plan that they were expected to implement in order to receive materials from ACTED, and in part to provide shelter for the local team, the shelter is not unlike that used by other groups. It uses low rock walls around the perimeter (low enough to be safe in another earthquake, high enough to afford some insulation, strength, and to offset costly wood requirements.) A basic wood frame holds it all together and, in the photograph on the right, you can see the internal and external layers of plastic sheeting for moisture barrier and the wavy white foam insulation (on top of the rock wall and against the back wall.)

A shelter built to ACTED specifications by a local villager.

Many such shelters are visible in this gully.

"CLO's", or Community Liason Officers, are local citizens who are hired by ACTED as the interface point between the NGO and the community. They are responsible for assessing the ground-level needs of individual families in a fair and transparent way, reporting this information to the NGO, and monitoring the progress of different families as they work on their structures.

A variety of goods under plastic sheeting at the base camp, while organizers prepare for distribution.

Villagers in these areas often lost literally everything except their own lives, including basic household goods. The bizarre appellation "Non-food Item", or "NFI", is used to refer to this large category.

In a lot of villages timber is hard to come by and milling whatever is left undamaged after the earthquake is often expensive. These two are cutting down a large beam into smaller planks; perhaps a good thing, considering the dangers of large beams in earthquake territories.

An ACTED structure is born (adjacent to the previously pictured structure.)

Little touches like this are crucial in this area of high seismic activity. Cross-bracing of various kinds and other simple design changes can make a huge difference. Various relief organizations are exerting efforts toward design education, especially in advance of the (hopefully) more substantial reconstruction phase in the spring.

Mohammed Zaman, Gulzar Begum, and their children.

They lost an 8-year-old daughter in the earthquake.

Moh. Zaman worked as a guard at a primary school in an area village called Sarbory making Rs. 5,000/month (at currency speculation exchange rates, US$83.33, but in reality more when converted at actual value exchange rates: $2 - 300? ). His job stopped after the earthquake and resumed about 1.5 months later. He normally grows corn and wheat on his land as well. He is the only breadwinner of the family he supports.

Before starting work on his shelter his family (which also includes his mother) was living in two tents. They are now building two of ACTED's structures, one adjoining the other. Friends/relatives have aided him in the construction. Stones and mud were the only local resources available to him (wood was salvageable from his demolished home but most was damaged or not of useable length except as emergency shelter material.)

From official Pakistani relief efforts he received food, two tents, and the Rs. 25 thousand compensation payment.

He owns his own land and did not have to take out any loans following the earthquake.

He said financial survival was difficult. Only ACTED has provided them with blankets, shelter, and other NFI's. Without ACTED they would have none of these things. They lost most of their animals, and all of their household goods. They have remaining one month of food, as of the 31st of December.

Health care is a problem as well; one Army doctor a month visits the (large) area. They must go to Balakot for any serious problems.

Satbani Goats. Certainly some will be slaughtered on the 11th for Eid ul-Adha.