11 October, 2005
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
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
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
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
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?