KSRelief winter aid reaches 150,000 Pakistanis in frost-hit areas

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KSRelief officers reach the Neelum Valley, Azad Kashmir, on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. (Picture courtesy: KSRelief)
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The King Salman Relief Center distributes 1,000 winter bags in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Khawa district of Pakistan. (Photo courtesy: KSRelief)
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Updated 29 February 2020

KSRelief winter aid reaches 150,000 Pakistanis in frost-hit areas

  • KSRelief was the first international agency to reach Neelum Valley with aid
  • The $1.5 million winter relief project was launched on Jan. 6

ISLAMABAD: King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) on Friday concluded its 2020 winter project to aid Pakistan’s poorest families amid the worst cold spell in decades.
The aid reached 21 regions in four provinces of the country, benefiting approximately 150,000 people, the Saudi Embassy in Islamabad said in a statement. 
The relief project reached residents of remote regions of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit Baltistan, and Balochistan.
When in late January hundreds were killed and injured by avalanches and other extreme weather incidents, with the highest numbers of casualties reported in the Neelum Valley of Azad Kashmir, KSRelief was the first international agency to arrive in mountain villages in the area with winter survival kits.
Muhammad Farooq, a resident of Surgan village in the region, told Arab News the snow-laden area was particularly difficult to access and the winter aid was life-saving for the community.
“This organization is the first one to reach us and these blankets and other items are very precious for us,” another resident, Afzaal Rafiqhe, told Arab News when the aid reached the village on Jan. 25.
The Saudi agency has also won hearts in other destitute regions, including Khyber district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“With my tiny salary it would not be possible for me to buy such things. KSRelief won many hearts and prayers,” Muhammad Irshad, a helper at a grocery shop at Landi Kotal bazaar near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, told Arab News upon receiving KSRelief’s winter package on Feb. 6. 
“My children along with my wife are glad and we have words to thank KSRelief. They supported us in this very difficult time,” he said. 
Hajji Rahman, a daily wager in Khyber, said his family has been “offering prayers for this generosity.” 
“Because of the very cold season I couldn’t work properly and due to that I could not mange to earn enough money to keep my kids warm,” he said.
On Jan. 6, KSRelief launched the $1.5 million winter relief project to distribute winter survival kits containing 180 tons of goods.
With one of the largest humanitarian aid budgets in the world, the organization has been working in 46 countries. Pakistan is the fifth-largest recipient of its assistance and has received more than $117.6 million in aid since 2005.


Chinese doctors, coronavirus relief supplies arrive in Pakistan

Updated 28 March 2020

Chinese doctors, coronavirus relief supplies arrive in Pakistan

  • FM Qureshi received the medical team at Islamabad airport
  • Chinese government and private donations for coronavirus relief includes test kits, PPE, face masks and funding support for an isolation hospital

ISLAMABAD: A special plane from China carrying an eight member medical team and relief assistance for Pakistan’s fight against the coronavirus touched down in Islamabad on Saturday, according to state-owned Radio Pakistan.
The novel coronavirus first broke out in China’s Hubei province late last year, and was declared a global pandemic by the WHO in January 2020. To date, it has claimed about 28,000 deaths around the world with surging rates of infection.
Through stringent containment measures, China was able to stem virus cases on its soil, and this week, the original epicenter of the deadly outbreak, Wuhan City, relaxed lockdown measures for the first time in months. Pakistan’s current cases of the infection stand at roughly 1,400 with 11 people dead and the numbers rising every day. Partial lockdowns have been imposed in some provinces.
China’s state assistance to its western neighbor so far includes 12,000 test kits, 300,000 face masks, 10,000 protective suits for health care workers on the disease front-lines, as well as funding support to build an isolation hospital, according to the foreign office.
The medical team from China are experts in dealing with the coronavirus and will remain in Pakistan for two weeks, the foreign office said. FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi personally received the Chinese medial experts at Islamabad airport.
“We are grateful, this is a unique relationship. And such times tell us how close we are to each other,” Qureshi said at the event.
Additionally, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s Foundation and the Ali Baba foundation have donated 50,000 test kits and 500,000 face masks to Pakistan, the foreign office said.
Through the Khunjerab Pass earlier this week, China also provided over two tons of masks, test kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment. Pakistan has also been the recipient of considerable private donations from China.
Earlier this month, President Arif Alvi and a contingent of high level officials including FM Qureshi visited Beijing to express solidarity with China in its fight against the virus.