Snow, Rain Compound Difficulties for Pakistan Quake Survivors

Heavy snow and rain in Pakistan has caused tents to collapse, landslides, and made life even more difficult for quake survivors.

On Monday – the second day of bad weather – relief work came to a standstill because of landslides that blocked three of the four main roads to Muzaffarabad, said military spokesman Major Farooq Nasir to Reuters.

"It's what we have been fearing all along," Larry Hollingworth, the U.N. deputy humanitarian coordinator, said by phone from Battagram. "The winter is now with us."

According to the Associated Press, the temperature in the Himalayan foothills have already fallen below freezing, causing many to fear that the winter will claim more lives than the quake itself.

Church World Service – which has assisted 20,000 of the worst affected families with shelter and food kits and provided medical assistance to 100,000 people – also expressed concern about the harsh winter as it distributed shelter kits over the past months.

"Of course we're all working night and day to provide as quickly as we can whatever temporary shelter we can get from governments' and aid organizations' contributions," noted Church World Service’s Marvin Parvez earlier last year. "The demand for winterized tents [like those provided by CWS earlier in November] is bigger than the supplies available.”

"There are no perfect solutions and none seem quick enough or in sufficient quantity to accomplish the unprecedented task at hand," said Parvez, according to a CWS report on Nov. 28.

Temperatures will likely dip to 21 degrees in the plains and to 7 degrees in the mountains, the meteorological department said, according to the Associated Press.

According to predictions, the bad weather might last until Jan. 7.

“Everything is wet," said a weeping woman, Shakina, as she huddled with one of her three children next to a fire in Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistani Kashmir.

“This is very difficult for me and my children. We can’t survive in this tent,” she said, according to Reuters.

Estimates declare that more than 2 million survivors still remain homeless as more than a foot of snow fell on the mountains and freezing rain fell on the valleys.

"It's what we've always expected, now it's the reality," International Committee of the Red Cross spokeswoman Jessica Barry said of the weather, according to Reuters. "If it lasts, it's going to get more and more grim."