Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, October 18, 2005

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South Asia Earthquake:
Impact and Humanitarian Response

Leach Schedules Thursday Oversight Hearing

BACKGROUND:  A little less than two weeks ago, a devastating earthquake struck at the heart of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, killing at least 50,000 people and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless and in need of shelter in the affected Himalayan areas of India and Pakistan. The most affected areas are the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), Northern Punjab, Pakistani-administered Kashmir, and Indian Kashmir in India.  As of October 17, Pakistan has confirmed 39,400 deaths in its sector of Kashmir while India has recorded 1,330 in its sector.  Tens of thousands of people have been injured and at least two million left homeless in the quake zone, the vast majority of them in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.  Poor weather and mountainous terrain have also delayed the huge aid effort as fears mount of a “second wave” of deaths from untreated injuries and exposure.  As a result of buried roads and knocked out electricity and water supplies, rescue workers are struggling to reach many of the victims in the remote, mountainous Himalayan villages, and having difficulty producing tallies of the dead and injured.  The impact on regional economies has not yet been fully assessed, although some foreign and local press accounts suggest impending political and economic fallout in Pakistan, where criticism is mounting over the Government’s (and the Army’s) allegedly inadequate response to the hardest-hit areas.  The international response has been swift, with nations offering their condolences and pledging generous amounts of monetary aid and humanitarian assistance.  The Bush Administration pledge of $65 million, including rescue helicopters and medical personnel, is part of the $272 million in international assistance raised to cover lifesaving efforts and early recovery provisions of shelter, nutrition, field hospitals and medicines, water projects, and transport for the first six months of recovery.  

WHAT:                             Subcommittee Oversight Hearing:
                                          South Asia Earthquake: Impact and Humanitarian Response

                                          Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific,
                                          U.S. Rep. James A. Leach (R-IA), Chairman

WHEN:                            1:30 p.m., Thursday, October 20, 2005

WHERE:                          Room 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESS:                       Christina B. Rocca,
                                          Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South Asian Affairs, U.S. Department of State;

                                          Michael E. Hess,
                                          Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance,
                                          U.S. Agency for International Development; and

                                          Peter F. Verga,
                                          Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Homeland Defense,
                                          U.S. Department of Defense.

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