Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS), an agency affiliated with the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), has mobilised specialised staff, volunteers and resources in response to the widespread destruction following the earthquake which struck several parts of Pakistan.
FOCUS is conducting search and rescue operations and distributing essential relief items to tens of thousands of families in the affected areas of Islamabad, Muzzafarabad and other remote regions of the country. As one of the few local emergency relief agencies with a dedicated search and rescue team, FOCUS is collaborating with various other international rescue teams including those from RAPID-UK and Russia, to engage in search and rescue operations.
To assist in the relief operation, FOCUS is using four AKDN helicopters ideally suited to work in remote and mountainous regions. Two helicopters have been flown in especially from Tajikistan, where they are being used to support local social, cultural and economic programmes, while the other two are regularly based in Islamabad to support AKDN development projects in Northern parts of the country.
The four helicopters have made numerous trips into the affected area, carrying relief items including staple foods such as oil, lentils and rice, as well as tents, blankets and medical supplies which are being distributed to thousands in need. On their return journeys to Islamabad, the helicopters are carrying survivors who require urgent medical assistance.
Agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network, including the Aga Khan Health Services and the Aga Khan University Hospital, have provided teams of doctors to provide emergency medical assistance to survivors.
Following the aftershocks in Islamabad and the surrounding region, FOCUS continues to work with local authorities and other relief agencies on the ground to provide the necessary search and rescue assistance as well as to distribute humanitarian aid.
Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) is an international group of agencies established by Ismaili Muslim communities in Europe, North America and South Asia to complement the provision of emergency relief, principally in the developing world. The agencies help people in need to reduce their dependence on humanitarian aid and facilitate their transition to sustainable, self-reliant, long-term development.
Focus Humanitarian Assistance is affiliated with the Aga Khan Development Network, a group of institutions working to improve opportunities and living conditions, for people of all faiths and origins, in specific regions of the developing world.
Underlying the establishment of FOCUS by the Ismaili Muslim community is a history of successful interventions to assist people struck by natural and man-made disasters in South and Central Asia, and Africa.