Sovereign Military Hospitaller
Order of St John of Jerusalem of
Rhodes and of Malta

Winter snows mean emergency shelters for 3,500 people in the Himalayas

08/11/2010

November in Pakistan means the first snows and bitter cold for many still suffering from the effects of the July / August floods. Malteser International, the Order of Malta’s worldwide relief service, will provide emergency shelters for 3,500 people in Kohistan, in Pakistan’s mountains. Thousands who live in the Palas Valley, 3000 metres up in the Himalayas, have still not received any emergency relief as access to their region was blocked after the floods.

Numerous families in the region who lost their houses in the floods must now move down to the valley where emergency shelters can better protect them against the approaching winter. Malteser International is providing emergency shelter – a type already used effectively in the winter following the 2005 earthquake – developed especially for use in high mountains. The shelters have ovens, insulation, kitchen equipment and other survival items. They are designed like a tunnel, which stops the roof from collapsing under heavy falls of snow.

Malteser International will also provide 20 villages with motor-driven flour mills. In the autumn, in some areas in Kohistan it was possible to harvest the sweet corn crop which must now be ground. “The more of their own flour the Pakistani farmers can produce, the more independent the villages will be from international food aid,”explains Dr. Juergen Clemens, Malteser International’s Pakistan expert.