Hams play role in welfare and recovery efforts after Pakistan's floods
The medical and food support being provided to the many people affected by the flood disaster in Pakistan affecting six million people is being assisted by the combined efforts of radio amateurs, a group of four wheel drive enthusiasts and the Pakistan Academy of Family Physicians (PAFP). Around a quarter of the country has been affected by the floods over the last three weeks that were triggered by intense summer monsoon rainfall swelling the Indus River into Pakistan?s worst ever flood. The United Nations estimates 20 million have been affected in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh provinces and 1600 lives lost.
Jim Linton - VK3PC
One of those involved with the Pakistan Amateur Radio Society (PARS) emergency communications effort, Asad Marwat AP2AUM reports that more than 20 hams are keeping lines of communications open and the plan is to increase this to 30 in a week's time. With both landlines and mobile phone services failed in the flood affected areas, he said that most of the radio traffic is through a 2-metre band repeater which is now linked to two homebrewed 2m/70cm cross-band repeaters or translators extending coverage to a radius of almost 300 miles.
A few stations are monitoring 7.040MHz but due to poor propagation is currently of little use, but should be kept clear for disaster use. Asad AP2AUM advises that PARS has teamed up with the Islamabad Jeep Club which is a group with members who own and drive 4WD sport utility vehicles (SUVs). Their expertise in driving on most difficult terrains is proving to be of great assistance to deliver essential relief supplies and medical help immediately after the flood. They are also working in collaboration with the Pakistan Academy of Family Physicians.
PARS President, Nasir Khan AP2NK expresses its thanks for the offers of support that have been received from the amateur radio community. Pakistan's national radio society is seeking to finalise arrangements including those from neighbouring countries to contribute to and help sustain the emergency communications that will be required for a considerable time to come.
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