Stories about earthquake

The day the heavens shook

March 28, 2004 Azad Kashmir was a world of beauty, splendour, tall mountains and green trees. “Papa! I love Kashmir! Can’t we live here forever,” Jahanara said innocently. Majid only laughed in response. He didn’t want to upset his little daughter by telling her that couldn’t be. Majid was an army officer. He got posted to new cities every two years. So far, Kashmir had been Jahanara’s favourite place. But she was only 11-years-old and had yet to see and explore most of Pakistan. Apart from the breathtaking landscape of Kashmir, Jahanara loved the place because of Afsah. She was the same age as ...

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The loving humanitarian efforts of an American in Pakistan

Due to frequent media images of violent anti-American protests as well as repeated travel-safety warnings from the State Department, most Americans avoid visiting Pakistan. However, Todd Shea, the founder of Comprehensive Disaster Response Services (CDRS), has adopted Pakistan as his home and is running several welfare projects there. I learnt about Todd Shea on Facebook several months ago when I was browsing through a list of ‘People you may know’. Pleasantly surprised to learn about the humanitarian work he was doing in Pakistan, I began to closely follow CDRS activities on social media. The 2005 earthquake and the great need to help its victims brought Shea to ...

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Fear the wrath of God

What do women seeking abortions, homosexuals in the US military, the animistic tribe of the Pakistani Kalash, and Christmas celebrating, non-vegetarians have in common? Apparently, God hates them and so we all have to put up with terrorists, strong winds and the earth splitting wide open. “Look what the Kalash have done now” In the wake of November’s 7.5 magnitude earthquake, a tragedy that left over 390 people dead, Pakistanis have descended into their favourite game; the blame game. It’s a familiar, age-old phenomenon. The wrath of God has been a sound explanation for the cruel, unusual, confusing and tragic since the inception of religion, and, perhaps, humankind. ...

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Why are our earthquake survivors left to die in the cold?

Those who did not die in the quake will die as ‘survivors’ forced to live in the cold, stressed and without shelter. Their immune systems vulnerable, their bodies exposed to so many dangers, what chance have we given them. That’s what happened to five-month-old Arshad Ali whose house was flattened on October 26, 2015.  Anyone too young, too old, sick or pregnant who is a ‘survivor’ has no chance of surviving in a tent in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s (K-P) winter. If anyone thinks change is afoot in K-P, they need to take a look when Khan Sahib or Raheel Sharif are not visiting. That is ...

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Earthquake 200(1)5: Are Pakistanis mobilised best when calamities are of colossal magnitudes?

A 100 plus schools and almost 9,000 houses have been demolished in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) alone, and even official figures show that the death toll is bordering on 300 people. Calculating the number of the injured and incapacitated is not difficult to calculate. The earthquake that shook Pakistan on October 26th was not a small calamity by any means. Yet, apart from sporadic sightings of a couple of relief camps, Pakistanis are not mobilised like they were at the time of natural calamities that hit the country in the past. The initial wave of sympathy seems to have dissipated sooner than usual. The very nation which prides itself ...

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People are dying, yet clerics say they are ‘happy’ to see attendance rise in mosques

It was déjà vu for anyone who lived through October 8, 2005, and not just the feeling that the ground was going to split open. Yet again, we have shown that at times when people come together, irrespective of cast, creed, faith and political affiliation, we Pakistanis would rather choose to be divisive. People are dying, yet clerics say they are ‘happy’ to see attendance rise in mosques. People have been left homeless, yet politicians are busy point scoring, blaming each other for the slow response of the other instead of taking responsibility for their own mismanagement. Hospitals are being called high risk buildings by their own staffers, yet ...

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When fasting becomes a sin

It was the October of 2005, during the month of Ramazan, when a devastating earthquake claimed close to a hundred thousand lives in the north of Pakistan, and injured just as many. I had the opportunity to serve the victims of this tragedy in the Kashmiri city of Bagh. Of the many things I vividly remember is caring for some men and women with life-threatening injuries who refused treatment because they were fasting. They considered it a grave sin to break the fast. As a medical professional, this was especially frustrating for me. Similarly, we have all come across pregnant women who suffered ...

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Indian media and beef controversy: Using Nepal’s tragedy to defame Pakistan

The drawback with Nepal is that our country does not fare well in global media. We hardly get covered internationally and even when we do get some media attention it is largely related to negative news – such as the royal massacre or the Mt Everest avalanche tragedy. This time too, Nepal has made it to every headline around the world due to a travesty. A 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal killing more than 7000 people and leaving thousands injured. According to the United Nations and the government of Nepal, around eight million individuals have been affected by the devastating earthquake. Nepal falls under the category of ...

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16 photos that prove India and Pakistan are just the same

Conflict isn’t the only thing common to India and Pakistan. We are just like neighbours who might quarrel but always have each other’s back. We are like neighbours who may not be too happy with the noisy parties the other throws but who would still like to be a part of each other’s happiness. This article is an attempt to focus on the everyday, the little things which unite us as a people. Forgive me if I come across as stating the obvious. But sometimes, the best of us tend to forget the obvious. And then it’s always good to remember, and to ...

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No need to run for your lives, there is no tsunami coming our way

Hate me if you will, and I hate the sound of the words myself, but I have to say it. All the hype about Karachi being wiped off the face off the earth as a result of an earthquake measuring seven to eight on the Richter scale causing a tsunami is a big lie. Why do I say this, when the media is all abuzz with reports of a Tsunami warning simulation carried out under United Nations aegis and participated in by the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD)? Because if a seven to eight strength earthquake radiates its waves to Karachi, from the Makran Trench, Karachi would have been ...

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