Aid on the Way to Pakistan; Oxfam Takes over Tent Factory; Another Helicopter Joins Aid Efforts

By mborum

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US Newswire Boston Wire Circuit: Aid is getting through to many of those affected by the earthquake, despite the massive weather and logistical challenges, said Oxfam International today. Four Oxfam aid flights are on their way from Britain to the earthquake hit region. Trucks are on the roads and distributions of tents, blankets, and jerry cans are well underway in many areas.

Oxfam today announced that it has taken over an entire tent-making factory in Lahore and is flying in another heavy lift helicopter to help Oxfam get aid to the most remote areas. The Mi-8T Helicopter is on its way and should start flights in the next few days. The helicopter can carry four tons of aid per flight, 22 aid workers, and at a speed of 250 kph, is the fastest possible way of getting aid to people in urgent need.

Oxfam has bought up the whole production line of the tent factory in Lahore to help supply 20,000 tents that Oxfam will distribute. This factory will produce almost 100 tents per hour, and once made, they will be distributed to those in need.

Oxfam America President Raymond C. Offenheiser said that it was very difficult to reach those in need:

"This isn't a logistical headache, it's a nightmare scenario. Not only did the earthquake happen in an inaccessible and remote area, it happened just before winter -- when snow cuts off huge areas and temperatures plummet dangerously low," he said.

"We need to get thousands of heavy tents and blankets into remote areas along roads that were barely passable even before the earthquake -- and we need to do it quickly."

Oxfam alone will need hundreds of truck journeys to get our aid through, and in some areas, only helicopters will do the job. We're flying in another helicopter to help. Winter tents and blankets are in short supply, so we are flying them in from around the world and are taking over whole factories to help meet our demand.

"Aid is now getting through, but this is one of the most challenging emergencies we have ever worked in," said Offenheiser.

Oxfam is flying aid out nonstop:
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  • An aid flight from the UK carrying 40 tons of relief items, including water tanks and purification equipment, is due to arrive in Islamabad at 11:00 PM local time tonight.
  • A flight left from Sri Lanka yesterday carrying 14,000 Oxfam water buckets designed to keep water free from bacteria.
  • A further flight carrying another 14,000 buckets is due to leave from Sri Lanka today.
  • A flight will leave over the weekend from Delhi with a cargo of 30,000 blankets for Indian administered Kashmir.

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