Oct 8, 2006

Pakistan Earthquake: A year later...

I watched BBC World this morning. They were interviewing earthquake survivors in Muzafarabad. Reporter painted quite a terribly grim picture. He said, that according to experts, a conservative estimates of full recovery from the devastation is 8 years.

73,000 people died...

From CCTV.com.

Pakistan´s quake aftermath : many still face uncertain future
One year after the massive earthquake that rocked South Asia, many, especially children, still face an uncertain future. Tens of thousands of families continue to live in make-shift camps . Numbers are expected to swell, when many now living in the mountains come down to shelter for the winter.

The magnitude 7.6 quake ripped through Pakistan's North West Frontier and Kashmir on October the eighth last year. More than eighty thousand people died and at least three million were left homeless.

Many children were made orphans by the disaster.

Hifza and his brother lost their parents, and are now being looked after by their grandmother. But memories continue to haunt the children.

Hifza's grandmother, earthquake survivor said,"Every time he hears his father's name, he cries."

Two year old Fiza lost her mother in the earthquake. She's since been in the care of her grandfather and great-aunt. And they're concerned about the future of the little girl.

Hifza's grandmother, earthquake survivor said,"My sister and I are old. Who will look after Fiza when we are gone? What will happen to her?"

Reconstruction has been slow, despite aid pledges amounting to almost 7 billion US dollars.

Pakistan's Deputy Finance Minister says that international help is still vital.

Omar Ayub, Pakistan's Deputy Finance Minister said,"They should be here, they should contribute and they should come in and work with the people of Pakistan and the government of Pakistan."

The non-governmental organization, Oxfam, says only 17 percent of the 450 thousand affected households have begun building permanent homes. This means almost two million people are still living in temporary shelters.

And for these, a pressing concern is how, or if, they will survive the coming winter.

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