Earthquake - A Year Later

Posted by sepoy on October 08, 2006 · 3 mins read

A 8:49 a.m. sirens sounded across Pakistan and people held a minute of silence. Can the scream of earth ripping itself apart be countered by silence? I don't know. The loss of life and destruction of habitats is still unfathomable to me. The overwhelming sense of helplessless is still here with me. And, it appears, on the ground as well:

But an air of despair was evident on the streets of Muzaffarabad when a Dawn reporting team visited parts of the destroyed Azad Kashmir capital before the anniversary of the 7.6 magnitude earthquake whose aftershocks have continued up to now - totalling 2,111 so far - as chilling reminders of the Oct 8 morning cataclysm a year ago that changed the face of the region. Reports of similar feelings came from other worst-hit towns such as Balakot in the NWFP and Bagh, southeast of Muzaffarabad, and rural swathes that suffered most of the casualties: a total of 73,338 killed, including 35,000 children, and 128,304 injured in 30,000 square km of affected area where infrastructure, communications and crop and land were severely damaged and 42,600 families deprived from earning members. Government estimates say some 600,000 houses, 6,298 schools and 796 health facilities were demolished, about 6,440 km of roads damaged and 50-70 per cent of water supply, sanitation, telecom and power infrastructure made non-operational.

On Thursday, Pakistan asked for $800 million more in foreign aid because of 200,000 additional homes to be built than previous estimates, in addition to $6.8 billion pledges at an international donors' conference last year.

The winter looms. As usual, the crisis of leadership and execution plagues the relief effort. We have largely forgotten and moved on to the next crisis. But. Let us not forget the overwhelming work done across the online communities for relief. At CM, from personal donations and sales of Tshirts, I was able to send $2500 to the relief effort - as well as participate in other online efforts. A year later, once again, my heartfelt thanks to all who gave money, and their time.

Here is a list of posts on CM:

Oct 8: Earthquake

Oct 9: Devastation

Oct 10: Help

Oct 11: Help II

Oct 13: My Own Personal Drive

Oct 13: Shaken

Oct 15: Buy Tshirts

Oct 20: A World Stays Still

Oct 23: Quake Relief Day

Oct 26: Blog Quake Day

In retrospect, the biggest problems remain. Lack of mobility of resources - there is still no way to make online donations to Pakistani Red Crescent or to Edhi Foundation; Lack of transparency - who do you give money to?

Images: CNN gallery.

update: Do see Unaiza's post which highlights - for me - the incredible, ongoing, individual efforts. Do consider supporting her.


unaiza. | October 09, 2006

Salute to all who made a difference. I would like to convey that the work is not over. Please do not stop your contributions and please do send it to someone you personally know. NO NGOs.