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Disaster

11 October, 2005

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The nation is still reeling from stunning magnitude of the disaster caused by a massive earthquake, said to be the most powerful to hit the region in 100 years, as thousands of rescue workers are digging through mud, rocks, and debris to find out thousands of dead and injured caught up underneath in Azad Kashmir and northern Pakistan.


According to initial estimates, some 50,000 deaths have been confirmed, mostly in Azad Kashmir, and once the beautiful valleys of northern Pakistan, whereas it is feared that the death toll may rise to much higher number.


Hundreds of thousands of victims of this deadliest disaster are lying under open sky as rescue teams have not so far managed to reach in various earthquake-hit areas due to continuous rains and land sliding, which have aggravated the gravity of the calamity.


Repeated aftershocks have compelled the victims to remain outdoor even in comparatively lesser effected areas of NWFP and Islamabad.


Except for some 2,000 who perished in Mansehra, Balakot, and adjoining areas in the NWFP, all the casualties took place in Azad Kashmir, where the epicenter of the killer earthquake lay.


In Muzaffarabad, and Rawlakot, almost 80 per cent of houses, government buildings, hospitals and shops have collapsed and frightened residents are spending chilly nights camped in fields, parks, graveyards and cars.


A senior United Nations official says that the death toll in the AJK might well exceed 30,000.


Though, the international community, including USA, has joined the massive rescue and relief operations, the government appeared to be unprepared and responded late and inadequately to the crisis as even the Information Minister was not aware of the disaster till 11:30 am. The corps commander Peshawar claimed on the second day of the calamity that merely 1000 people have been killed in NWFP, and that media is exaggerating the death toll.


Reports reaching here suggest that rescue operation has not so far been commenced in several affected areas.


Q-1, Are you satisfied with the government's response to the tragedy?
Q-2 Have we responded to the disaster as a united nation?
Q-3 What measures could be taken to minimize the disaster in case of more earthquakes?
Q-4 What should be done for rehabilitation of millions of homeless victims?

Reader Comments:

Quite Satisfied

This is one of the worst earthquake's Pakistan has ever witnessed, however, the people of Pakistan are united and they have responded. I feel so Proud to be a Pakistani and to see my coutnrymen, volunteers, military and even people from far places, different countries all of them are contributing.

It only goes on to prove that humanity is what matters the most, and we all have manifested it by coming together and contributing in the rescuse efforts.

May God Bless us All, and May He give strength to all the greived families... Amen!

Ali, Pakistan - 11 October, 2005

The Disaster

Hello, I'm Ranjini, from Bangalore, India.
It is truly shocking and painful to open the newspapers every day and find the death toll and suffering are rising in this terrible tragedy, and find myself unable to do anything constructive, except sending relief material by voluntary organizations.
It has affected both our countries, India and Pakistan, and shown us how silly our fights and wars are. When Nature strikes, we suffer together. And the worst part is, scientists have predicted (and believe me, it's true, I teach Earth Sciences) that the Himalayan region is higly unstable and more earthquakes are very likely to happen.
May the Almighty God give the people of Pakistan and India enough strength to withstand this pain and tragedy and live through the suffering. May it at least unite us and stop our wars across our borders. And may God forbid another quake from happening.

Ranjini, Hungary - 11 October, 2005

A great nation

I salute the Pakistani nation for their ongoing response to this worst calamity but I am deeply concerened about the poor response by our so called 'capable army'. It is a matter of professionalism and they have only mastered in throwing civilian governments in 20 minutes. We have been feeding our army for all these years and given them a comfortable life but look what we get in return? Shame on Musharraf.

Sunny, Pakistan - 11 October, 2005

Hope you fully recover from this disaster.

Gart, Netherlands - 11 October, 2005

Disaster Preparedness

Firstly, my heart goes out to all those who have been victimized by this horrendous 7.7 earthquake. I pray that all receive the peace, blessings and relief from this time of tribulation!
To the best of my memory, Pakistan never having faced natural disasters, especially of this magnitude has had to be concerned about forming disastermanagment agency at local, state or federal levels. However we do know that since the late 1950s Pakistan has experienced natural calamities such as the Quetta earthquake, the cyclone storms of then East Pakistan and perhaps on lesser scale arrid land related famine. Additionally, Pakistan has never formally or informally had building codes ( does it now???) to ensure some form of solidly built structure for living, public use or quasi public occupancy. On the contrary, for the longest time other "matters" were placed much higher in the governmental list of priorities! This is not the time to delve into those misplaced and erroneuous priorities. As I view the reports from Pakistan on this major disaster, I can't help but think...who is managing the disaster relif efforts? I certainly don't hear any names.....except for some Major Gen. Sultan. What agency is spearheading this mission to remedy the situation, what with all the relief help pouring into Pakistan. Lastly, all the funds (money) that are coming into the country....who is chargeof that, who is disbursing these funds and how is it being done, without any...any of that money ending up in some corrupt officials pockets?
This is a very good time for the Musharraf govt. to establish a federal emergency response agency, accountableto the highestauthority in the land and once done they need to IMMEDIATELY start preparationto be a full fledged functional arm of the federal govt. sole for the purpose of guiding, rpoviding and managing releif efforts for any and all disasters or as directed by the leader of the country.Finally, this govt should also, most certainly establish a set of building codes and enforce them through trained individuals. If Musharraf is an intellegent and caring leader, he would jump on this opportunity to accomplish these goals. Good Luck

redauqs, United Kingdom - 11 October, 2005

I feel sorry your country suffered the recent disaster. However all I heard from your Holy Muslim Clerics was that the recent hurricanes to hit the USA was from punishment from God. Well now I guess God sent the earthquake to kill you Muslims. Funny how that happened. I would prefer that God rain his wrath and vengence down on all you Muslims. You must have done something to offend God because he punished you much more that the hurricanes in the USA. Maybe you should turn Christian so this doesn't happen again. Now I know what I just said is silly, but when you Muslims say the same thing, all you dummies believe it. It doesn't sound so good, does it?

Pat McGroin, United Kingdom - 11 October, 2005

Above Religion

Just a quick comment, as a Pakistani and muslim, I would like to thank all the rescue teams coming from all over the world helping us to dig out people under tons of debris.

God Bless you all, Americans, British, Chineese,Japanese, French, Germans, Turkish, Indian, Saudis, Iranians, Dutch, Australians, everyone who's coming for a good cause, that is to save lives of Humans.

Long Live HUMANITY!

PEACE AND LOVE

Agha, Lahore, Pakistan

Agha, Pakistan - 12 October, 2005

God is Watching

I am a muslim living in Indian Kashmir. I just wanted to say that Allah is watching everybody. Due to fact that 98 % of people fighting in Indian Kashmir receive support and get training in Azaj Kashmir. We the muslims in Indian Kashmir were living so happily until changed everything. . Now Allah has shown that all those who provided support to them in Azaj Kashmir are so vulnerable to the wrath of Allah. It is time, to look within you and stop this nonsense.
I hope people would learn a lesson from this. Do good and Allah would take care of you. It is the same pain, so think good and do good instead of spreading and supporting harted.

Sher Khan, Pakistan - 12 October, 2005

stop the hatred

We are all alike yes we the people of the world, all we want in life is security, education for ourselves and family and a quality of life to participate in the meaning of life. Stop all wars they really mean nothing to each side in the end. Stop ethnic hatred of each other when i see a black, brown or tan man or woman i see myself no mattter where in the world we live. I hurt for all that suffer young and old. come together and build a better community and have trust in one another.

ellen

ellen, Tokelau - 12 October, 2005

Q1: It was definitely late as usual. VVIPs had been flying over the effected areas for two days with full protocol. Despite having aerial resources, though limited, they could not drop relief goods for three days, which is deplorable.

Q2: Yes we have. People responded immediately and were first and the only helping hand for days. Contributions are pouring in beyond estimation. May Allah keep the spirit alive.

Q3: May be stronger and light structures should be used. Above all, we should spare money from government extravaganza for crisis management.

Q4: We are getting aid that seems substantial. It has to be saved from spilling out into wrong areas and wrong hands. It would be best if UN High Commission For Refugees take over the task. Experience regarding authorities established by government has not been satisfactory.


Imran Hotiana, Pakistan - 12 October, 2005

Praise Allah

Peace and greetings to you and those who have suffered from this great calamity. It does seem as though Allah is sending a message to his Muslim followres about the wickedness of terrorism. Between the Tsunami and this earthquake nearly 300,000 Muslims have died campared to the 2000, from the Hurricanes is the US. Allah punished the US for its Abu Graib misfortune but surely the Muslims punished much more for thier terror campaign agianst the civilized world. Will Pakistan accept the aid, so desperatly needed, from Isreal or will bigotry rule the day. If given will the Muslims on the ground accept it or will they bite the hand that feeds them? Where is Osama when his "people" are truely suffering? Osama help your people, don't blow up the innocent infidel.

Jim, Italy - 12 October, 2005

pat dont worry god will be comming for u soon! why should we turn christian? youy lot dont even know whether your god is white or black!

uzma, United Arab Emirates - 12 October, 2005

To answer your question...

This is to answer the question of the gentleman from the United States Pat McGroin. Yes indeed it is true that every Muslim believes that a natural calamity of this sort is a punishment by God. Yes even in the case of Pakistan, it can be said that it may have been due to the wrath of God that so many people suffered death and extinction. This is not a new idea. Muslims believe that from the beginning of time God has weeded out evil and wiped out entire nations by way of natural calamities, ie floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. This is nothing against Christians, Muslims, Jews or Hindus. It is a statement against mankind. I dont care what faith you are, we are all sinful and we must repent for our actions. Every single nation should repent for their ways, because in every single nation there exists corruption, greed, persecution, and genocide against ones one people whether it is China, Spain, Brazil or America. It happens and thats the fact. So to answer your question, it is imperative that every Muslim believes that the wrath of God is manifest in the ways mentioned and for that we must learn the lesson and seek repentance. For GOD is almighty and we must have displeased him in some way to have incurred this type of loss.

I hope that you have understood what I have said.

Peace to All people on this Earth.


Nabila Ali, United Kingdom - 12 October, 2005

I am shocked at the magnitude of the disaster that Pakistan has to face. I pray for the people left behind. I have no words to express my pain at the suffering you all are going through. May God give you courage to deal with this tragedy.

Shaukat A Ashai, United Kingdom - 13 October, 2005

deepest condolence to all,Ifeel god has indigated for new realations between india pakistan for peace, now after this disarter we all indian,pakistani brother mother,sister should come forwatd for peace,development of both naton
nagokay
jammu

harbans nagokay, Hungary - 13 October, 2005

Thanks

All of us here were lucky to escape this natural disaster. These are more or less tests from GOD which brings alive the feeling of sharing and caring for each other. We all here thank to you for remembering us in your prayers and make us feel proud to have friends and brothers like you who sitting 10000s of miles away still feel the pain and agony our nation is going through.

Faisal Rawalpindi Pakistan

Faisal Khan, Pakistan - 14 October, 2005

Quake

Wrath of nature has unfortunately struck the poorest of poor in Pakistan & India. Both nations must get going to join forces for providing succour to quake victims. Halfway measures will not do, it is not time to be coy, people are dying - Pakistan can appeal directly to peoples of India, the Billion Indians will be able to provide both money and other relief items. Helicopters so urgently required in Quake area, the largest fleet in south asia is in IAF

Vkumar, Hungary - 15 October, 2005

Why bring religion in?

The land mass on Earth is supported by gigantic plates known as Tectonic Plates. Since the beginning of time, these Tectonic Plates have moved in various directions, thus causing the evolution and development of different continents. One such example is the "creation", that happened some 100,000 of years ago, resulting in the southern part of the Indian sub-continent physically moving to join the rest of what is India, today. That movement also created major earthquakes, perhaps well beyond the 8.0 mark on the Richter Scale. Similarly, the recent Earthquake that destroyed and damaged much of Azad Kashmir, etc. was caused by the moevment of the Australasian and Indian Tectonic Plates against each other. Pat McGroin, Uzma and Nabila Ali...why bring God into this? Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu, Bhuddhist...we all have our egos and short-comings. Please leave that out of this disaster. Grow up and view this in terms of the probabilty of your attempt to help in the relief of those that have been affected. Please let's not paint any of this with a religious brush! Our world, as it is, is filled with a lot of Pat Roberstsons, Bin Ladens, and all those self-righteous religious loud mouths. Pat, there always be someone who is going to view the world the way they "want" to view it. This is not the time for a poisoned sermon from the likes of Billy Graham Jr., describing muslims as misguided by their belief in Islam or some Mullah that thinks it is his way or nothing at all! Today we need all to join together and come to the aid of Pakistanis hurt by this incredible natural disaster.
So Please, let's step beyond this state of narrow mindedness and help those that need our assistance.

redauqs, United Kingdom - 15 October, 2005

Strong Protection

Please protect to survivors specially children, women and girls from evil hands. Need strong securites arround hospitals, camps to prevent evil people to claim as relatives of survivors. Please, Please

Habib, United Arab Emirates - 15 October, 2005

Q-1, Are you satisfied with the government's response to the tragedy?
No, there were army men watching when poor people digging with their hands to rescue helpless trapped under. People were complaining that they were not helping. When asked by a British journalist as to why the armymen were not doing anything, their answer "we have not got the orders"

Q-2 Have we responded to the disaster as a united nation? Yes and no, some people were simply watching while others were digging, carrying their injuereds
Q-3 What measures could be taken to minimize the disaster in case of more earthquakes? Build homes made of wood only so you do not need heavy machinery.
Q-4 What should be done for rehabilitation of millions of homeless victims? Well, besides many other things, they need to be educated as to fewer children, the better life is

I have found Muslims in general, and Pakistanis in particular to be very much dependent on Allah. Whatever happens, they would say "Allah will take care of it". And that is the biggest problem thet they suffer so much. Leaving everything on Allah never worked and more regrettably, Pakistanis never learn or I should say they never want to learn that you have got to be waking up and do something for yourselves and your fellow people rather than sit and wait for Allah to drop food in your mouth.

Even in the best of times, they lack proper humane conditions for their fellow citizens, and have left everything on "Allah's will". They simply do not grasp the concept that "God helps those who help themselves".

9/11 was rationalized as God's wrath on infidels. Most Tsunami's victims were popolous Muslims. The way some religious leaders in Middle East rationalized it as "Those muslims were engaged in homosexuality and were not following the teaching of Islam so Allah gave them the punishment".

Another problem with them, besides superstitions, is unfounded rumours-"America used nuclear bomb in the ocean that triggered the tsunami so as to kill muslims on the island" ...LOl... If America were to extinct the religion and its followers completely, then they could accomplish this in a matter of seconds......

Then the storm/flood in N.O., and this had been floating around that "america was punished by God". Now, I have to hear the update on this quack as to what they think about this disaster.

.. maybe something like "oh!!! you see, Musharraf is with America in "war against Islam", so Allah punished Pakistanis for their sin to let it go on"... what else?

Another Pakistani wrote that earthquake is to be blamed on what happened 5 days before when first gay marriage was carried out in Pakistan. Now I really have to doubt the intellect here. Even if I were to assume that GOD did not like the marriage, then my logic and intellect tells me that GOD would not punish millions of innocents for the deed of one man. Many other countries are having the homo marriage already
then those countries should have disappeared completely from the face of the earth??? Remember, those little children in schools had nothing to do with anyone's supposed sins. That also makes me question.........

That brings me to appeal to other Pakistanis who live among us to do something for their country to put it in the right path of self-assurance, and self-security and not just sit among us and yet blame us for all of your miseries. Those Siddiq Khan (from Kashmir) and Shahzad Tanweer (Mirpur-not too far), instead of blowing themselves up on the bus and train/tube, they should have devoted their lives for the betterment of their own people and perhaps would have helped now in the disaster, and bandaged the bleeding victims, in the name of Allah. Hum... maybe it is Allah's message to the land that fostered those two who blew themselves up along with others.

the world is stepping in to help in the name of humanity--can't "you" do something yourself perhaps for in the name of "Allah"..........

****I am so deeply anguished looking at people bringing their bleeding friends and family on their back to seek medical help that was really not available until after 3 days.


mysterious, United Kingdom - 16 October, 2005

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