On the 8th of October 2005, at 8.55 am Pakistan's Northen area was hit by a massive earth quake measuring 7.6 on the richter scale, killing over a 150,000 people and rendering more than 3,000,000 homeless.
- Name: Adnan Afaq
- Location: Islamabad, Pakistan
Monday, November 14, 2005
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Saturday, November 12, 2005
UMEED VILLAGE PROJECT
Earthquake Victims of October 8, 2005
Kashtara Near Garhi Habibullah
Table of Contents
1. Executive Summary
5. Situational Assessment
6. Rehabilitation Methodology
8. Critical Issues
10. Donation Process
12. Help Required
13. Construction Flaws
14. Individual Family Profile Sheet
The earthquake that hit the northern areas of Pakistan on October 8, 2005 has left many of its victims desperately in need of housing that will both protect them from the coming winter and be able to resist future earthquakes. The purpose of the first phase (Phase 1) of this project is to repair and rehabilitate 34 houses in the village of Kashtara (four hour drive from Islamabad) using earthquake-resistant materials and construction. Once this is accomplished, the second phase (Phase 2) of the project will focus on the rehabilitation of the villagers’ means of livelihood and the establishment of an overall support system coordinated with neighboring villages.
It is imperative that the villagers be involved in the process, enabling them to feel empowered and self-sufficient. As such, while a team of 25 skilled workers and the necessary equipment will by sent by the project, the manual labor itself will be provided by the villagers. Additionally, workshops will be conducted to teach the villagers about earthquake-resistant construction techniques so that the houses can be maintained after construction. In order to identify those in most need, priority has been given to households where there are widows, orphans, elders, or other relatively disadvantaged villagers.
For Phase 1 of this project, an assessment has been made of the damage to each of the 34 houses and an estimate obtained for each house, yielding a total of $60,000. For ease of fund raising, 60 donors are needed, each willing to contribute $1000. Each donor will be assigned a family to whom their donation will be directed. The donor can be in contact with the family, either by mail or phone, enabling them to enquire about the family’s welfare and feel more personally involved. The donations will be used solely for the repair and restoration of the houses in Kashtara.
Raising of seed money and mobilization of contractor by: November 1, 2005
Completion of at least one room in each house by: December 31, 2005
Completion of all repair work on all houses by: (To Be Determined)
On October 8, 2005, an earthquake hit the northern areas of Pakistan - the worst recorded natural disaster in this region. The earthquake measured 7.6 on the Richter scale. Since then, over 800 tremors have followed, some above 6 on the Richter scale. The earthquake has completely destroyed some of the towns such as Balakot, Bagh and Batrasi. Others towns have been devastated leaving almost 50% of the buildings damaged. These include Muzaffarabad and Rawalakot. Roads to many places still have not been restored. The death toll recorded so far exceeds 60,000 people and is expected to rise. At least 3 million people have been displaced and affected.
Kashtara is a small village tucked away in the Valley, which runs south from Balakot to Garhi Habibullah. The village is situated next to the Kunhar River.
From Islamabad you head for Mansehra and drive down to Hasanabdal on the GT Road; then turn right just past the Cadet College. This road leads you to Haripur, Abbottabad and finally Mansehra. The journey time to Mansehra is approximately 2½ - 3 hours long. At Mansehra you take the bypass, which leads you around the city, and then as you hit the silk route, you make a right turn off the silk route. This is a narrow but very picturesque road which winds threw a thickly wooded forest and sharply descends into the Kunhar Valley. Given the sharp bends on this road, this half hour journey can be quite harrowing for those susceptible to motion sickness. This road meets the river a few kilometers short of Garhi Habibullah from where we turn north and head for Kashtara.
Kashtara is some 5 km North of Garhi Habibullah and some 20km short of Balakot. Kashtara is one of many villages which exist in this river bed valley. An all-weather paved road runs along side the Kunhar River and many villages are located in this valley. These villages are isolated and remotely placed and differ considerably from those you see in Punjab, which are more structured Typically, these villages are scattered with a cluster of a few (2-4) houses surrounded by farm land and similar pockets of house clusters spread over the entire village.. There are, as such, no natural boundaries between villages. Some villages are at a distance from each other, while other villages merge into one another.
Click to View map of area
The victims of the October earthquake are people who live in remote mountains which, till the construction of the silk route in the 1970’s, were cut off from the world at large. They have limited skills. With this calamity, some of them have not only lost their dear ones, but also their houses and their meager belongings, which in their case are life sustaining; such as utensils, bed and bedding, blankets and live stock.
The donors will be called "sungi" (friends) and the village household that is being sponsored will be called "family". We will put in touch the Sungi and the Family by encouraging the family to write to their friend(s). We will encourage exchange of Pictures also. The village has a few phones. These numbers will also be given to the Sungi.
They are now in a state of shock and grief as a result of this tragedy. A lot will be needed for rehabilitation. Some of the concepts that are being considered are:
A. Rebuilding their homes (most urgent).
This document pertains to construction of
houses for the villagers. To be more precise, it
pertains to the construction of one room per
family, which will at least allow each family
to survive the winter. Donors are solicited to
sponsor a room for each family.
B. Moving forward, setting up of a trauma center with the help of a specialized NGO. This may not be physically in Kashtara, but a nearby town such as Garhi Habibullah or Balakot.
C. Gifting livestock to the family. The inspiration of this concept comes from a similar project. See web site http://www.heifer.org/
· A set of chicken, four hens, and a rooster will cost Rs 1000 ($17 )
· A pair of goat/sheep will cost Rs 6000 ($100 )
· A buffalo will cost Rs 60,000 ($1000 )
D. Adopting a child and financing his schooling and living expenses. This will be approximately Rs 6000 per year for schooling + Rs 12,000 per year for basic needs ($100 + $200).
Down the road, the Sungi’s can establish contact with the families and can even visit them. It is a beautiful valley ideal for camping.
5. Situational Assessment
Typically, people live in a barrack like structure 24 feet long by 14 feet wide, with a deep verandah in the front which is normally 8 feet deep. This structure is divided into two rooms. The roof is slanting and made of tin sheets. Some of the people who are relatively poor live in mud houses.
The first trip to the village, with architect Mr Sohail Abbasi and contractor Mr Mohd Rauf, was made on October 16, 2005 to assess the damage. A second two- day trip was undertaken by the contractor and Mr Tabasum (office administrator) on October 2, 2005 to do a detailed assessment of the damage to each house, the details of which are attached. Each house with serious damage was evaluated, costed-out, photographed and a profile of the family living in it was documented.
Given our execution constraints, we feel that we can reconstruct and rehabilitate more than 34 families before the winter sets in and temperatures plummet below zero degrees Celsius.
We have assessed and documented the work that is required on these 34 houses. While many of the houses have become dangerous to live in due to cracks, they can be fortified and repaired at nominal costs The cost of rebuilding these 34 houses will be Rs 3.6 million ($60,000). The cost per house varies depending on the extent of damage and how much can be salvaged from each site. To reinstate a room in a house which is totally damaged will cost Rs 255,000 ($4250).
6. Rehabilitation Methodology
A. We will work with the villagers. It is imperative to motivate them to plan and take charge of their lives and welfare. The villagers will provide the labor force using small groups. Each group will work on the rehabilitation of a few houses.
B. We plan to send a team of 25 skilled workers which will be composed of:
· 10 masons
· 3 welders
· 7 carpenters
· 5 laborers well versed with heavy work such as shuttering
C. The workers will be sent in two stages: one before Eid and one after Eid. Eid will be in the first week of November, 2005. In the first stage (immediately), a team of 2 masons and 3 laborers plus the contractor will be sent. Their target will be to organize the logistics and prepare for construction. The team will do the following:
· set up camp
· set up storage space
· organize the villagers to clear up the debris
· retrieve what is usable
· commence making cement blocks
D. The team will also set up storage space and set up the machinery. We will then transport the following equipment:
· Crushing machine
· Block making machine with vibrator + compactor
· Welding equipment with grinder, cutter and rod.
E. In the second stage, (after Eid) the team will increase to 25 workers.
F. Attempts will be made to retrieve and use as much from the wreckage as possible (blocks, wood, tin sheets, etc),
G. Workshops will be conducted to show the villagers the errors of their construction techniques and teach them safer techniques.
H. Different construction techniques will be applied depending on the situation. For completely destroyed houses, steel structures will be made. For houses where the roof made on a wooden frame is intact but the wall(s) have caved in, hydraulic jacks will be used to raise the roof and pillars of RCC will be constructed to support the roof. Our team of contractors will do the technically sophisticated work. The villagers will provide labor and lay the wall using cement blocks.
I. Cost reduction will be achieved as stone for the crush will be gathered by the villagers. The crush making machine will be provided by us. Also, sand from the nearby river will be gathered by the villagers.
J. The work will be done under the guidance of the Architect Mr. Sohail Abbasi. A chartered accountant, Mr Irfan Saleem, will maintain the accounts and BOQs. I will make site trips on as many weekends as possible.
K. We will also assess the financial capability of the household to meet the demands of the damage. Households with single women, young children, or elders will be identified and given priority. Our assessment sheet will identify the priority as P1, P2 and P3 (P1 being the highest priority).
A. Advance party of contractor team of seven skilled workers to depart for Kashtara on Friday, October 28 2005. The Advance party will set up camp, prepare the site, and set up machines and storage space.
B. They will work there till November 3, 2005 and then return for four days during Eid holidays.
C. The team will return to the site after November 8, 2005 - this time beefed up to 25 members. This team will then work till the completion of the project. Approximated time of completion is December 15, 2005.
D. Work will be subject to weather conditions, such as rain and temperatures dropping below zero degrees.
E. Weekly site visits will be undertaken. This will be divided between Accountant Irfan Saleem, myself (Adnan Afaq) and Architect Sohail Abbasi. We are considering hiring on a temporary basis a project engineer to help manage the project, expedite the work, and ensure quality.
8. Critical Issues
A. We need to provide at least one room to a family that will enable them to survive winters. Time is short as winter will set in within 2 months. Last week, GEO TV channel reported that temperatures had dropped to 6 degrees Celsius.
B. We need funds urgently. A sum of Rs 500,000 is needed to be given to the contractor for mobilization advance, so that he can send the Advance Party by Friday, October 28, 2005
A. We need you to sponsor a family by sending in your donation.
B. Each case will be given a number and a cost estimate
C. Depending on the size of your donation, we will allocate a family to you. Please keep these benchmark figures in mind.
· There are 3 houses that will require on average Rs 25,000 to rehabilitate
· There are 10 houses that will require on average Rs 65,000 to rehabilitate
· There are 16 houses that will require on average Rs 115,000 to reconstruct
· There are 5 houses that will require on average Rs 225,000 to reconstruct
D. If your donation is not sufficient to finance a house, we will group you with another donor. We will try to group you first with people that you know and, if that is not possible, then with another donor in your city.
E. The following people have volunteered to act as coordinators. All queries can be directed to them.
· Those in the USA should refer to:
Ghazala Nomani email@example.com
Khusro K Elley firstname.lastname@example.org
Shaheen Ahmed email@example.com
· Those in the UK and Europe should refer to:
Imran Akhter I.firstname.lastname@example.org
Khawaja Zahid email@example.com
· Those in Pakistan and Middle East should refer to:
Adnan Afaq firstname.lastname@example.org
Sumbal Munir email@example.com
Manizhe Ali firstname.lastname@example.org
10. Donation Process
We have set up a joint account until an NGO is identified for collecting relief money. The account is between myself and Mr. Irfan Saleem (Irfan is a qualified accountant). Please send all your donations to this account.
A. Those wanting to send donations from Pakistan, please contact Adnan Afaq or send a Demand Draft to the following address:
Askari Investment Management Ltd.
13-I First Floor, F-7 Markaz
Details of rupee bank account are as follows:
Account No: 580110007299
Title: Adnan Afaq / Irfan Saleem
Bank: Askari Commercial Bank Limited, F-7 Branch, Islamabad.
B. For wanting to send donations from the United States, please make checks payable to “Dosti Foundation” and make sure to write “Umeed Village Project” in the memo, so that your donation is properly deposited to this project. All donations are tax-deductible. Checks should be mailed to the following address:
26 Cedar Street,
Bergenfield, NJ, 07621
C. All non-US international donors, please use the following instructions:
REMIT U.S DOLLARS-THROUGH WIRE/SWIFT TO:
AMERICAN EXPRESS BANK LTD
NEW YORK, N.Y. 10007
SWIFT CODE: AEIBUS33 ABA NO: 124 071 889
FOR CREDIT TO:
ACCOUNT NO: 000737072
ASKARI COMMERICAL BANK LIMITED
FOR ONWARD CREDIT TO:
ASKARI COMMERCIAL BANK LIMITED
F-7 MARKAZ BRANCH
ADNAN AFAQ / IRFAN SALEEM
ACCOUNT NO: 0058-02-130-0027-2
NB: This is IMPORTANT. Please email a TRACKER SLIP with the following information to <email@example.com> as soon as you make your donation. It is imperative that we keep a record of all donations towards this humane cause. This information will help trace your generous contribution(s).
1) Name of Donor
2) Amount of Donation
3) Bank Details of Amount
4) Date of Transfer
I/We ____________________________________ have sent Rs/$ ________________through
[Cross out what is not relevant]
i. Askari Bank online transfer on date ____________from Branch Name ___________ OR
ii. P.O / Cheque # _______________ dated ____________ Bank Name________________ OR
iii. Wire / TT # _______________ dated _____________ Bank Name ___________________
A. No act will be committed which may cause conflict of interest.
B. No expenses will be undertaken which are not wholly , exclusively and necessarily for the purpose of this business
C. No expenses or reimbursement of administration nature of Adnan Afaq and other aid members will be borne by the donors’ money.
12. Help Required
A. We need people who can help with the coordination of the project.
B. We need people who can supervise the project. This will require site visits.
C. We need an NGO to work with. We are NOT an NGO. We are trying to “tie up” with an existing one or set up our own. Setting up will take approximately 15 working days.
13. Construction Flaws
A. Foundations were not properly laid out. They used round stones from the rivers, which are unstable. These should not be used in the walls of the house or the foundation.
B. The house construction was from cement blocks, which were made locally and were not up to specifications.
· Cement blocks were manually made and did not have pre-cast compaction. They were 8x4x6 inches long, whereas they should have been 12x8x6 inches long.
· The cement ratio should have been 1:8:20, while they were using a lower ratio. To save on cost, they made 65 blocks from a bag of cement, while they should only have made 40.
C. The corners of the house were not correctly joined. No RCC pillars or beams were used to provide strength to the structure.
14. Individual Family Profile Sheet
This includes 34 sheets, each containing a write-up on individual families whose houses we want sponsored. Each sheet has a number and contains the detail of the family, damage to the house, and the cost estimate.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
City of Dead
Just before the first light dawn touched the sky we were off. It was 5.20 am. The morning was cold and it was raining. As we drove towards Abbottabad, we thought what it would be like for people who would be sleeping out doors. Zakir said that he was in Rawalakot the day before and it was bitterly cold. He had a sweater and a jacket on yet found it cold. We were 4 people in the car. Zakir Habib from Rawalakot. He has been doing relief work since Saturday. They have converted a school they run in Rawalakot into a shelter home. He too has lost his house in Rawalakot. Zakir is shuttling between the affected areas and Islamabad. His over all knowledge of relief work and the physiology of the affected people, I thought would add value. The second person was Sohail Abbasi an eminent and respected Architect of Islamabad. He has volunteered to help in any way he can. The third was Rauf who is a contractor. He has worked on various kinds of projects in the hilly areas such as retaining walls for dams etc.
In two hours, we were in Abbottabad. Several Plazas on the road were down and the grim truth hit us. Each building we saw down made us wonder the number of deaths it must have caused and the tragedy it must have unrolled in so many lives. We stopped at a hospital to take stock and find out about the medicine supply.
As we moved into Manserah region, the relief vehicles traffic increased and our car speed decreased. For the first time in Pakistan. I saw vehicles pulling off the road as soon as they heard the wail of a Ambulance. The road was lined with pickets of levy's, army jawans in combat fatigue with automatic weapons. Every 10 /20 miles we saw Army camps. Hundred of laden trucks moved north bound full of relief goods while thousands of families carrying there meager belonging were coming down hill (south). It looked more like a war torn zone.
By mid morning, we reached Kash-Tara (the village we have selected to rehabilitate near Ghari Habib Ullah.) were in 2001 we had gone with Bitto and Choti for a picnic by the river. I realised I knew the area well. It is a beautiful valley some 2 miles wide and some 10 miles long. The valley is very flat with high mountains on both sides. Kunar River snakes through the valley. The whole valley is scattered with round stones you will normally see by riversides. The valley is fertile and green. I thought, when I spotted the camps of refugee and relief workers…..how ironic it is that they can’t appreciate that they are camped in such a beautiful spot.
Kash-tara village is scattered in the sense that there are clustered of 3/4 houses together and then the next cluster is say a few acres away. It is a farming village and people harvest corn and wheat. I saw lots of gypsy's around. One group had a herd of horses with them. The area actually has some 300 odd houses and there are several villages in the valley. We immediately set to work. Our objective was to do an assessment of
* Ability of the affectee to finance repairs
We visited the houses, inspected the damage, and talked to the household members. Most were still in a state of shock and were petrified. Every day news of death and horror stories of villages high up in the mountains were reaching them. Just to reassure daily a dozen strong tremors reminded them that the quake could be back. What happened in Balakot can happen to their children. We inspected 16 households. Some 10 houses have been knocked down or were beyond repairs. Some 6 had serious damage of a magnitude that they cannot be habitated without structural repairs. We only inspected some of the damaged houses
All such families were sleeping in tents. Most of the tents were small and in some cases, they were using sheets of cotton or plastic to make a make shift tent. The whole situation was cramped and to say the least uncomfortable. If the earth quack was not enough , it seems we will have an early winters. The high mountains have already received snowfall and were gleaming white.
We plan to send the contractor back for a day or two who will do a "situational assessment" of each household and record in detail. He will record the names of the family member, age occupation and the land they own. This will be done in front of the villagers. They will then record the damage... With the help of the Architect the possible remedy for the damage will be worked out. We will also access the financial capability of the household to meet the demands of the damage. Single women, house hold with young children or old people will be identified and given priority. Each case will be given a number and a cost estimate and sent to the donors. People will be asked to sponsor a house.
From here, we went to Balakot to see the horrible face of absolute destruction. Balakot is the town of dead. Of the 25,000 people 70-80 % are dead. The entire city has been raised to the ground.…..not even a wall or tower stands. There are only two structures that still stand. Balakot town was built on two hilltops with the Kunar River in between. The mountainsides slided and all the hotel remains are just scattered all over the place. That day the earth shook wildly…. there was a loud grumble and then the earth jumped up … in just seconds everything crashed. …. Including the biggest school of the region ….. 600 children went silent forever. I saw the school ….books & copies by the dozen were scattered all over the ground and there pages fluttered in the strong breeze. Geometry boxes were lying everywhere and children bags. I picked a copy of a boy of class two. With bright markers he had given himself big stars for all his work. I just sat and wept. In the middle of the school playing ground there were mass graves of these lovely children…. including my favoured boy with stars. For many it is best that they are dead…for there mommies have died to. May be God will send them back to better lives. I cried then, I cried last night and I weep as I write. ….. 600 innocent lives.
I saw the face of a town in shock….. Two dead bodies were dragged out of the rubble in front of us. The whole town had the smell of rotting bodies and most people wore masks. There were hundred of relief workers and locals all rushing. ……Only a few were working. Coordination and leadership to the disaster is poor and disjointed. But this is not for me to worry about. I only need to worry of what I can do and what I want to do. The rest is not relevant. We returned around 10.30 last night. Physically exhausted and emotionally crippled.
When God Cried
Shafiq our cook returned today. A week earlier he had gone to his village[KASH-TARA] near Garhi Habib Ullah. Garhi Habib Ullah is between Manserha and Balakot on the way to Kagan. Shafiq's village has been completely destroyed. Of the some 80 house only two though damaged have a roof
I saw Shafiq after a week. I was shocked to see him. He looked like beggar. He had lost weight and appeared completely shell shocked and was in a daze. In a week he had aged at least 10 years. Otherwise a alert and smart man.The last square meal he had was at Sehri on Saturday. Since then he has neither eaten properly nor slept properly. His house was amongst the 75 houses that were destroyed in his village.
Shafiq kept saying how lucky he and his family was. [Allah ka shukar ha.....bara karam raha] Only some 25 people in his village died.Mostly little children and old people. Up in the mountains preparation for winter were underway. In Shafiq's village almost every able body was out on the mountain side cutting dry grass.for the winter fodder. In any case none of the roofs were of concrete. Houses mostly had tin roofs and barns for animals had mud roofs. As the roofs came down many people while got badly injured did survive. The animals on whom the mud roofs caved in had higher mortality.
As the realisation of the magnitude of this catastrophe dawned we tried to do some thing.We arranged with the help of our friend for some basic immediate survival stuff. This included
Shelter Stuff. As tents were not available we sent old thick curtains which can be used as ground sheets or be tied to some tree to make a rough shelter. We also sent 10 feet X 10 feet old carpet piece to be used as matting. In addition two blankets and chadders.
Clothing. Most people have lost EVERY THING. Now that these people are spending nights out in the open ( as it happed it has already rained twice since the earth quack ....both time it was a hail storm.)they need extra warm clothes. Sweater, Jackets and even better warm Chadders and shawls. We sent what ever we could lay our hands on. But its best to send only relevant clothes. Sorting ...Shippment... distribution is all time consuming and difficult.
Food We had packets made of dry food. Atta, Ghee, Lentils, powder milk, sugar, tea. Then latter realised and added salt, chillies and haldee. We had the food rapped /sealed in plastic bags for easy handling. But realised that the packing must be extra strong to with stand the rough journey. Weak bags will puncture and all will go waste.
Equipment While we needed to send spaded and building equipment we did not have time . We sent cooking utensils Match boxes and candles were also added. Next time we will send ropes and water cans.
One packet was made for one house hold which was rapped in plastic with all these things and then put in sacks. When it lands in Gharri habbi ullah people will swamp the truck. There will in most likely hood be a dog eat dog scramble. I will not be shocked nor devastated if the vehicle is stopped en-route and looted by those who have not eaten for three day. I hope one sack reaches each per house hold. We have sent enough for 50 families.
The story of this village is the most cheerful one that I have heard so far. In places which were more urbanised people were in shops , homes and offices. Children of course were in school. The initial shock were so vicious and strong.......that one jerk and the roof and walls just caved in. There was no time to run. In Bagh over a 1000 kids died in the school. All gone. The concrete roof caved in killing the lucky ones and trapping some not so lucky. There was no equipment in this hilly town to cut through concrete and reach them. Most have since died . There cries neither reached us nor the Gods in the blue sky.
As land slides had disrupted the roads only on Monday did aid and rescue work start News of other town is now reaching us. Muzzffrabad the largest of all such town has hardly any drinking water. Over 60% of all buildings destroyed. All buildings have suffered damage.Death toll is so high that people want to evacuate due to the rising stench from buried bodies. Balakot, Rawlakot and Badagram are more or less raised to the ground.
We also sent two vehicles to Muzffrabad to evacuate families who are stranded there.
As it is my (our)life is so complicated and tough ............ consequently,I want to be associated with lucky people. I plan to take an active role in the rebuilding of Shafiq s village. I am still formulating my thoughts on this. My initial view is to put together a town planners and architect and get them to plan a healthy,functional and environmental friendly village with sanitation with prospects for growth. Then with the help of the villagers and friends willing to donate TIME, MONEY or EXPERTISE fund the construction of the houses. In the Provide some morden equipment like block making machine.... buy cement and steel in bulk and with the
The houses need to be up before the winter sets in which gives us is barely two month. I am meeting a Architect tomorrow and a few more over the next 4 days. By Monday I will try and formulate a core group who will be willing to work on this rehabilitation project. Please let me know how you can contribute. Those who would like to donate money please let me know the amount they can raise or want to contribute. This will help me plan.I have no idea as to how much is required but one can do a simple simulation exercise. My guestimate is for the moment....
Rs 500,00 per house means-------------------------for say 80 houses-----Rs 40,000,000 = $670,000
I wonder if pain will ease after building these houses.
Earthquake on 08.10.2005
The earth quake lasted just a few minutes. But that appeared to be a very very long time. . However we were all safe.
We all recovered quickly and got back to our routines. Within half an hour there were another two tremor one light and one quite strong. I was at work by then .By the time the second tremor came rumors of devastation was flooding in . Margalla Towers had come down. Its about 3 kilometers from our house. Some of the young men from our office went see what had happened. They came back and reported . This building has been extensively covered by TV. Gloom set in . Our AWT building that houses Askari Banks Head Office had developed cracks and has been evacuated.
During the day after shocks kept rattling us. There was one rather strong one in the afternoon. Now fear was getting its grip. Thousands of people living in high risers and flats opted not to go back in the building.At night the sky turned orange and then a chilly wind picked up. Hail storm followed. So many people were caught in the cold and rain.During the night at least on four occasion we were jolted out of our beds due to the tremors. It was a long and fearful night. Palvashae got quite upset and ran a fever and slept with Mama. She held her hand all night.
Now even when our chair moves we all stop for a second to check if another tremor is rolling.
It took several hours for all of us to realize the devastation and destruction the earth quack had unleashed. The main impact was up in the Himalayas mountains..... north of Abbottabad and in Kashmir. The area is high mountains with restricted access. So it was a while before news started to come. Indeed, news of first hand accounts took longer to come. Village after village have been devastated most of the houses collapsed. For instance village near Ghari Habib Ullah had some 80 houses....only two house have roof on it.
The earth quack caused landslides which have caused extensive damage. Destroying the roads and water ways . Consequently, people have been not only been cut off but drinking water is no longer readily available in many parts. Bagh a town in Kashmir was in a valley. Mountains caved in from both sides. The landslide has buried some of the houses 30-40 feet .
Relief work has started ....the first of the aid trucks rolled out of Islamabad today. So main town in the mountains will receive help by night fall. The ordeal for residents of remoter town will continue. We have put together some basic survival stuff like ground matting,bedding's , warm clothing for adult and children cooking utensils and dry ration for some 50 house hold tomorrow. The stuff will leave for Garhi Habib ullah on the silk route . I reckon that more than 50,000 people must have lost there lives.
Limited resources , high altitudes and impending winter is going to make things very tough.For so many the ordeal has just began.