As first snow falls, Oxfam warns winter could cut off thousands of earthquake survivors from help

Published: 22 November 2005

The first snows of winter fell in areas of Kashmir last night raising the prospect that thousands could be cut off from help within weeks. Last night it snowed for the first time this season in the upper region of Kupwara, in Indian administered Kashmir. The snows were light but the temperature continues to drop and the official winter season begins in just three days time (15th).

The first snows of winter fell in areas of Kashmir last night raising the prospect that thousands could be cut off from help within weeks.


Last night it snowed for the first time this season in the upper region of Kupwara, in Indian administered Kashmir. The snows were light but the temperature continues to drop and the official winter season begins in just three days time (15th).

International agency Oxfam is racing aid to the region. In Uri, on the Indian side of the line of control, Oxfam is distributing blankets and materials for temporary shelters to people today. Yesterday Oxfam also distributed thousands of blankets and tents in the remote North West Frontier of Pakistan. Tomorrow Oxfam will be distributing tents, blankets and materials for temporary shelters in Abbottabad, a city in Pakistan administered Kashmir.

There are thought to be around one million people who have been made homeless by the earthquake and many of them are sleeping in the open. There is a real risk of people falling victim to pneumonia and hypothermia unless they get shelter.

"The winter is coming and fast. Within three weeks thousands of people will have been cut off. We hope to have our own helicopter in the skies in the coming days to help us get aid to people in the most remote areas before the snows come," said Shaista Aziz, an Oxfam aid worker in Pakistan administered Kashmir.

"Because of landslides and earthquake damage, in some areas aid can only taken in on the backs of mules. I've been part of a team distributing blankets and temporary shelter to people today, this is aid that could be the difference between life and death," said Aditi Kapoor, an Oxfam aid worker in Uri, Indian administered Kashmir.

Oxfam's first aid flight landed today in Islamabad carrying tents which will provide shelter for thousands. Oxfam's next flight is being loaded today and will be leaving from the UK tomorrow.

Contact Information

For more information, please contact:
Brendan Cox in the UK on +44 7957 120853 or Caroline Green in the US on +1 202 321 7858