On 8 October 2005 Pakistan was hit by an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale. The destruction was enormous, with more than 70,000 fatalities recorded so far and an equal number of injured. At the same time, millions of people have been made homeless and the situation is worsening quickly with the onset of winter.

Something like three million people are estimated to have lost their homes following the earthquake, with children particularly hard-hit. As a consequence, the Volvo Group, as part of the drive to support emergency relief operations following various natural disasters, is donating 500,000 Swedish kronor (£36,000) to the Save the Children Relief Fund.

Volvo President Leif Johansson says, "In a catastrophe of this sort, children naturally suffer very much indeed, the more so perhaps in this part of the world. Like everyone else, I’ve seen pictures from the affected areas and it is immensely hard to grasp the sheer scope of the catastrophe. And with winter on its way, the injured and the homeless risk freezing to death. "Many people have issued a call to provide aid, not least the Swedish royal family, and I also feel it is important that as many people as possible do their bit to help."

The earthquake also disabled the regular electricity supply in large areas. There is an urgent need for electrical power and engine-driven gensets are often the quickest method to restore electricity supply. In co-operation with local genset manufacturers, Volvo Penta has donated four complete gensets for use in the disaster region. The gensets are capable of producing electricity for field hospitals and construction sites.

At least 5,000 children are believed to have perished when about 10,000 schools collapsed in the quake. Many children who survived have lost their parents and are now entirely alone in the world following the earthquake’s devastation.

"We are working very hard to try and locate relatives or neighbours and thus form extended families. It is important to find safe homes for the children and to protect them from harm," says Barbro Jonsson from Swedish Save the Children.

Published : 30/11/05 Author : Melanie Carter

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