One year down the line…

At exactly this moment on October 8 last year, an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale hit Northern Pakistan, with its epicentre some 160 km north of Islamabad. This was the largest earthquake to hit Pakistan in over a hundred years, and to many people, the extent the damage only started unfolding after over 6 hours. Initially, the collapse of Margalla Towers was all that was known, primarily because all other links to the affected areas were severed and information to time to flow in.

At that time, I was drving to office while listening to a radio show being aired from Islamabad. The RJ said “something’s wrong, the studio is shaking, I’d better go out and check”. He plugged in a song and left. In a few minutes I reached office thinking it was one of his jokes, oblivious of what had happened.

About two hours passed before a colleague informed me of something like earthquake tremors being felt in Islamabad. I called up a friend, who didn’t pick up the phone and I assumed it was the country’s largest cellular network acting like itself again.

It was about half an hour more until we found out that Margalla Towers had collapsed. My friend was living in the apartments adjacent to Margalla Towers, but was thankfully in Karachi that day.

TVs were tuned in, the Internet was scanned and we found the towers everywhere. It was only a few hours later that we found out what actually happened.

About 3000 people were reported to have lost their lives in those fateful 50 seconds. Things got more and more frightening as time passed by.

Over 40,000 people lost their lives in the following days, with several times that number in lost houses and other resources. Hundreds of families vanished that day, millions of dreams disappeared and almost an entire generation lost in the dust.

This day, while we express our solidarity with all those affected by this great tragedy to have shaken our nation, we still have a reason to look up and smile.

It was in the days after this even that we discovered our power as a nation. Thousands of people of all ages, during the blazing blazing heat and while fasting, came together for days and nights on end, to collect and distribute aid. At military bases and open areas around the country, relief camps were set up to collect supplies. In Karachi, PAF Museum assumed the role of the central focus.

The sights at the museum were awe inspiring. Everyone from every sector of society was there and no one cared about anything. While there were many people constantly coming in with whatever they had to offer for relief efforts, there was another set of donors. The ones that arranged for Iftar and refreshements for volunteers.

It was also on this occasion that several blogs and websites became the central information resource. Help and were two custom made websites for this very purpose while Marketing-360, Pakistan’s largest online marketing discussion forum served as a networking centre, since marketing departments of many companies were managing activities on behalf of the companies.

What makes us more proud as a nation, is the fact that local aid surpassed international aid efforts by several times in terms of monetary value. The manpower and resource cost of cunducting these efforts was even higher considering the fact that everyone shared their resources and the number of people that went up north was immense.

One year down the line as reconstruction efforts start picking up pace, let us not forget that there is still a lot more needed. Though we have moved on, we must remember that many people still need our help and support and contributions to the earthquake relief funds will still help build many homes and lives.

Long Live the spirit and strength of this nation. Long live Pakistan.

6 Comments so far

  1. Captain's Log (unregistered) on October 8th, 2006 @ 10:38 am

    Can KMB , its authors , its readers help this guy?

    How about we all send some donations to Teeth Maestro for this guy’s hepatitis cure. Dr. do you want to take this responsibility ??? If he is not then Jamash??

  2. Ramla A. (unregistered) on October 8th, 2006 @ 11:39 am

    Well recapped! I have a suggestion for the KMB community – authors and readers: please write in about on-going efforts by the city NGOs and individuals so we can all keep tuned in.

    Inspirex: please correct the

  3. Inspirex (unregistered) on October 8th, 2006 @ 2:22 pm

    Thanks R :)
    link fixed.

  4. Salman Ahmed (unregistered) on October 8th, 2006 @ 4:48 pm

    poor people trying to visit graves of their loved ones stopped and maltreated by police on the pretext of presidential security…

    Mr president please let them atleast mourn this day in peace…! just staying back at your islamabad palace would infact do alot good for them instead of the photo op!~

  5. Salman Ahmed (unregistered) on October 8th, 2006 @ 7:26 pm
  6. wasiq (unregistered) on October 9th, 2006 @ 2:54 am

    it is so obvious that you made more money from the earthquake than from the khudadad heights….

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