The earthquake, which hit Pakistan and Afghanistan, made at least 350 people dead, some areas, hard to reach, remain completely cut off from the world.
One day after the terrible earthquake that struck Pakistan and the Afghanistan, rescuers are trying to reach remote areas affected by the earthquake. The natural disaster killed 350 people on the borders of Pakistan and the Afghanistan. Collective funerals were held in both countries, where the balance sheet risk still rising as relief progressed towards the isolated affected areas. In Afghanistan, the Taliban, whose strong presence in some regions could complicate the rescue, pledged to help those affected by this 7.5 magnitude tremor that caused landslides and sometimes cut communications.
Some areas are completely cut off from the world. In Pakistan, the police failed, for example, not to join authorities in Kohistan, a district of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province (Northwest) where live 500,000 people, said a police official in Peshawar, the provincial capital. The majority of the victims was identified in Pakistan: 248 deaths, including 202 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, according to the national disaster management authority. In many areas, survivors were left to themselves. “We are more than 50 members of the same family forced to wait outdoors the arrival of relief,” protested Hakim Khan, a sexagenarian inhabitant of a village in Shangla in northwestern Pakistan, where snow threatens.
No one brought us aid
The Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif, returned Tuesday from a visit to the United States, promised the survivors “of compensation generous so they can rebuild better houses”. He visited Shangla, who could be most affected Pakistani district with 49 dead identified so far. In the village of Gandao, almost all of the 300 homes so was damaged. Number of inhabitants are reduced to sleeping outside in freezing temperatures for fear that their homes are collapsing. “Anyone not brought us aid”, said Hakim Khan, who lost his nephew, as well as his house like his three brothers. “We have nothing to eat or to wear with this cold, and we are afraid that the snow comes.”
The Pakistan Red Crescent, that routes to the Northwest of the country of blankets and makeshift equipment, struggling to reach some areas because of the snow. “We expect that the weather improves to enter in contact with them,” said a framework of the Organization, Khalid Bin Waleed. Authorities were also trying to assess the situation in Chitral, where, according to a local official, more than 80,000 people have more access to drinking water since the earthquake. The army evacuated wounded by helicopter and all military hospitals are on alert.
Clearing operations were ongoing on the the Karakorum Highway which connects the North of Pakistan to China and has been cut by several landslides. For number of inhabitants of this region, the Monday earthquake has revived painful memories of the awful magnitude 7.6 earthquake which had killed more than 75,000 people 10 years ago, on October 8, 2005. “I was afraid that this is the return of the last day”, said Shehnaz Rasheed, 34, a resident of Muzaffarabad, in Pakistani Kashmir, who lost her daughter that day. She ran to the school of his sons.
115 deaths in Afghanistan
In Afghanistan, the earthquake, whose epicenter was located in the remote mountains of Badakhshan (northeast), had generated Monday a scene of horror in the city of Taloqan: 12 taken panic schoolgirls perished in a stampede as they tried to flee their schools. In this country, the official death toll has been revised upward Tuesday at 115 dead, hundreds wounded and 7 000 homes destroyed. The Government has called on humanitarian organizations to the rescue, but NGO officials indicate have trouble to organize relief due to lack of safety information.
The affected areas are difficult to access. Badakhshan is very mountainous, and much of this province and other affected areas are in the hands of Taliban insurgents, complicating relief operations. The Taliban movement called on humanitarian organizations to assist the victims and his fighters to their “unconditional support” to the rescue. Evidence of instability in the border area where the earthquake hit, seven Pakistani soldiers were killed Tuesday a little more to the South by gunfire coming from Afghanistan, according to the Pakistani army.
Pakistan and Afghanistan are regularly affected by earthquakes, particularly at the level of the mountains of the Hindu Kush, which lies on the boundary fault between the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates.
more details on Dawn.com