Feb 02

Yaqoob Lauds ERRA’s reconstruction process

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister AJ&K Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan has said that ERRA had carried out the massive reconstruction process and made speedy progress in last 3 years was even more than the development made in AJ&K in last 50 years. Addressing Inauguration Ceremony of Basic Health Unit in Chatter Kalas Muzaffarabad, he said that AJ&K govt would keep on supporting ERRA towards the completion of all the projects well in time.

Speaking on the occasion, Senator Altaf Muhammad Saleem thanked Bosnian Govt and people, especially outgoing Bosnian Ambassador for his continuous support to ERRA. He said that Bosnian support is reflective of the confidence of international community in ERRA’s rebuilding phase. He said that PM Yousuf Raza Gilani is taking keen interest in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of earthquake affected areas and is regularly updated about the recent developments made by ERRA.

Altaf M Saleem urged local administration to engage closely with ERRA to manage the network of buildings, offices and infrastructure being developed in affected areas. He said that ERRA’s Housing Project is almost complete and now it is emphasizing more to speed up work on Education and Health Sector.

Answering a question Chairman ERRA said that Master Plan for Muzaffarabad City Project has been finalized and the work will start soon. Bosnian Ambassador H.E. Damir Dzanko while appreciating ERRA’s efforts towards rebuilding in earthquake affected areas said that 2005 earthquake was a great disaster in Pakistan’s national history but people of Pakistan stood together to effectively tackle the situation and Bosnian Govt was always prepared to cooperate with ERRA to mitigate the sufferings of this great catastrophe.

He assured Chairman ERRA for Bosnia’s continuous support towards this noble cause in future. In SERRA office Muzaffarabad, Chairman ERRA Altaf M Saleem was also briefed about 617 transforms imported from China under Earthquake Early Assistance Project to channelize the Power network in earthquake affected areas of AJ&K. Altaf M Saleem instructed SERRA administration to install the transformers as soon as possible so that mechanism for provision of electricity in affected areas can be improved and streamlined.

Chairman ERRA later held meeting with VC Muzaffarabad University Dr Habib-ur-Rehman and discussed the issues delaying the reconstruction of University. Chairman Altaf Slaeem told the Vice Chancellor that the bidding process will be completed before April and the work will start right after. Chairman ERRA Altaf Muhammad Saleem, Bosnian Ambassador H.E. Damir Dzanko, Secretary Health AJ&K, high ranked ERRA officials and local people were also present on the occasion.-SANA

Oct 08

Third anniversary of October quake today

MUZAFFARABAD: All arrangements were finalized for the observance of 3rd Anniversary of 8th October 2005 earthquake on Tuesday, which hit Azad Kashmir and some parts of NWFP on this day.

The day will dawn with special prayers for the soul of martyrs of the quake as well as progress and prosperity of Pakistan.

In Muzaffarabad, sirens will be sounded at 8.52 in the morning during which all kinds of traffic will come to a tandstill for one minute to pay homage to the martyrs. Later a collective Duwa will also be held at University ground.

Official sources said the significant development of the day is the foundation stone laying ceremony of the mega developmental projects for Muzaffarabad and Muzaffarabad Athmuqam road which will cost three hundred ninety six million dollars

May 28

US Senator visits AJK quake hit areas

ISLAMABAD: United States Senator Russ Feingold visited several areas of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) here today to witness first hand the life people are leading more than two-and-a-half years after the devastating 2005 earthquake. “The people of the United States fully understand the suffering and hardship that the people of the earthquake-hit areas of AJK have endured,” Senator Feingold said while observing the current status of the development and rehabilitation work undertaken by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and partners. “We are pleased to work together with the members of these communities to restore life to normal and build a even better future.” Read the rest of this entry »

May 16

President thanks Turkey efforts in reconstruction process in quake victim areas

ISLAMABAD: President Pervez Musharraf has expressed gratitude to Turkey for its efforts in building schools and university in Azad Kashmir after the devastating earthquake of October, 2005. This he said during a meeting with the Chairman of Turkish NGO Lighthouse Association, Engin Yilmaz , in Rawalpindi on Thursday. The President said that the NGO had done a commendable job in further strengthening the friendly and brotherly ties between the people of Turkey and Pakistan.

Apr 11

Quake Kills Thousands in South Asia

Azhar Masood & Huma Aamir Malik, Arab News

ISLAMABAD, 9 October 2005 – A massive earthquake struck South Asia triggering landslides, toppling an apartment building and flattening villages of mud-brick homes near the border between Pakistan and India yesterday, killing several thousand people in a wide swath of devastation. Pakistan’s dead included 400 schoolchildren crushed by rubble when their schools collapsed, and 200 soldiers on duty in Pakistani Kashmir. For hours, aftershocks from the 7.6-magnitude quake rippled across the region as rescue teams struggled to clear piles of debris in a desperate search for survivors. Hospitals evacuated quake victims, some hooked up to intravenous drips, onto their lawns, fearing tremors could cause more damage. As night fell, rain and hail disrupted the recovery effort.

Pakistan absorbed most of the destruction. In the northern town of Mansehra, a shopowner named Haji Fazal Ilahi stood vigil over the body of his 14-year-old daughter, which lay under a sheet on a hospital mattress. He said his wife, a daughter and a brother also perished in the debris of their home.

“I could see rocks and homes tumbling down the mountains,” said Ilahi, who was driving to his village of Garlat when the quake struck. “When I reached my village, there was nothing left of my home.”

In a show of solidarity, India offered assistance and condolences to its longtime rival, Pakistan. The neighbors, who are engaged in a peace process, have fought three wars since independence from British rule in 1947, two of them over the divided region of Kashmir that was devastated in the quake.

“While parts of India have also suffered from this unexpected natural disaster, we are prepared to extend any assistance with rescue and relief which you may deem appropriate,” Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a message to Pakistan’s President Gen. Pervez Musharraf. A senior Pakistani Army official said 200 soldiers died in Pakistani Kashmir. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media. About 1,000 civilians died in the region, said Sardar Mohammed Anwar, the top government official in the area.

“This is my conservative guess, and the death toll could be much higher,” Anwar told Pakistan’s Aaj television station. He said most homes in Muzaffarabad, the area’s capital, were damaged, and schools and hospitals collapsed.

At least 1,600 people died in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province, said Akram Durrani, the province’s top elected official. Ataullah Khan Wazir, police chief in the northwestern district of Mansehra, said authorities there pulled the bodies of 250 students from a girls’ school that collapsed. “This tragic incident happened in Ghari Habibibullah,” a district village, he said. About 500 students were injured. Dozens of children were feared killed in other schools.

In the capitals of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan, buildings shook and walls swayed for about a minute, and panicked people ran from their homes and offices. Communications throughout the region were cut.”It is a national tragedy,” said Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, Pakistan’s chief army spokesman. “This is the worst earthquake in recent times.” He put the casualty figure in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir at several thousand dead.

The United Nations said it was working with Pakistan, Afghanistan and India on an emergency response to the quake. The US Geological Survey said on its website that the quake hit at 8:50 a.m. local time and had a magnitude of 7.6. It was centered about 95 kilometers northeast of Islamabad in the forested mountains of Pakistani Kashmir.

Damage was extensive in Kashmir, the disputed Himalayan territory divided between India and Pakistan. Officials in the Indian-controlled portion reported at least 250 people killed, including 20 soldiers who perished in a landslide. At least 800 people were injured and about 2,700 homes were destroyed or damaged across Jammu-Kashmir, said senior state official B.B. Vyas.

Army soldiers and local volunteers rescued people from under the debris of collapsed houses. Telephone lines were down. Bridges had developed cracks, but traffic was passing over them. Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz ordered the Pakistani military to extend “all-out help” to quake-hit areas and appealed to the nation to stay calm. Helicopters and C-130 transport planes took troops and supplies to damaged areas, but landslides were hindering rescue efforts.

The quake brought down a 10-story apartment building in Islamabad, and at least 10 people died. The dead included an Egyptian diplomat, hospital doctors said. The Japanese Foreign Ministry in Tokyo said two Japanese were among the dead. At least 126 survivors were being treated in hospitals. A man named Rehmatullah who lived nearby said he saw dust from the buckled building from his bathroom window. “I rushed down, and for some time you could not see anything because of the dust. Then we began to look for people in the rubble,” he said. “We pulled out one man by cutting off his legs.”

“It was like hell,” said Nauman Ali, who lived in a nearby top-floor apartment. “I was tossed up in my bed and the ceiling fan struck against the roof.” Aided by two large cranes, hundreds of police and soldiers helped remove chunks of concrete, one of which was splattered with blood. One rescue worker said he initially heard faint cries from people trapped in the rubble. In Abbotabad, north of Islamabad, dozens of injured quake victims and other patients lay on the lawn of the city hospital as staff with loudspeakers appealed to the public for food and other relief supplies.

One of the injured was an 8-year-old boy, Qadeer, whose father, a farmer named Jehangir, said the only buildings left standing in their village were a mosque and a school. Qadeer lay unconscious, his right leg heavily bandaged. Authorities brought dozens of bodies to a damaged sports stadium in Muzaffarabad, and laid them on the ground under sheets.

In eastern Afghanistan, an 11-year-old girl was crushed to death when a wall in her home collapsed, said police official Gafar Khan. US military spokesman Lt. Col. Jerry O’Hara said the quake was felt at Bagram, the main American base in Afghanistan, but he had no reports of damage at bases around the country. The quake also jolted parts of Bangladesh, but no casualties or damage were reported there.

This is an old story published on Arab News; for the readers i found it very touchy and true commentary.

Apr 06

France gives Rs. 382 Million for quake-hit areas of NWFP and Azad Kashmir: FO

ISLAMABAD: France has given an aid of Rs. 382 Million for the quak-hit areas of NWFP and Azad Kashmir Foreign Office revealed here Sunday.

France gave Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority this amount to construct homes for the affected people. French embassy in Pakistan also informed that France would provide Rs. 1 billion in financial assistance in line with meeting the pledge made by it of giving financial assistance to Pakistan for rehabilitation of the quake-hit areas in the north of the country.

Dec 14

Earthquake hits Afghanistan and sparks panic in Kashmir

Sam Jones
Tuesday December 13, 2005
The Guardian

A strong earthquake struck the Hindu Kush region of north-eastern Afghanistan late last night, rattling through northern Pakistan and Kashmir, both of which were devastated by another quake two months ago. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries following the earthquake, which happened just before 3am local time.
The US Geological Survey put the magnitude of the quake at 6.7. Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 14

Long trek for treatment ends at the hospital from hell

Declan Walsh in Mansehra
Thursday October 13, 2005
The Guardian

hospital372.jpg

Aziz Khan pushed impatiently through the crowd outside Mansehra hospital, gripping his blood-splattered son Javed by the hand. Moments later the 11-year-old boy was lying on the emergency room table, a bare metal bed frame in a chaotic room filled with quake victims and littered with bloodied swabs. He moaned as a doctor kneeled down to examine a deep gash across the back of his head. Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 14

Aftershocks hamper earthquake rescue efforts

Earth Quack Victims

Agencies

Thursday October 13, 2005

Guardian

Areas of Pakistan worst affected by Saturday’s earthquake were today hit by an aftershock that halted efforts to find the dwindling number of trapped survivors. According to an Associated Press report, a 22-year-old woman buried in the rubble of an apartment building in Muzaffarabad died when rescuers were forced to abandon their bid to free her.
Read the rest of this entry »