Pakistan Opinion Blog

No issue bigger than Earthquake Issue

Entries may be a little edited for clarity or brevity. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of PakPositive.

“We are endangered because of known dangers. There are also unknown dangers ahead so we are endangered and dangers we have controlled do not promise us endangering again”

An earthquake is a vibration of the Earth produced by a rapid release of energy. The main features include the focus, the location within the Earth where the earthquake rupture starts, and the epicenter, the point on the Earth’s surface directly above the focus. Earthquakes have a greater effect on society than most people think. These effects range from economical to structural to mental. An earthquake only occurs for a few brief moments; the aftershocks can continue for weeks; the damage can continue for years.

When dead were awakening, it must have seemed like an act of ultimate power. From miles above the earth, mountains groaned with inhuman voices. On the frail surface, homes made of wood, decaying cement and cinderblock were flattened. For a moment, silence. And then the human voices: whispers, whimpers, shouts and cries– A massive earthquake of 7.6 magnitude that killed more than 30,000 people in northern Pakistan and governments around the globe deployed emergency rescue, pledged money and sent aid.

In the aftermath of earthquake, which devastated villages and towns across northern Pakistan, thousands of working class and poor residents reacted in anger over delays in government relief. They have ransack food stores and other locations and clashed with relief workers in a desperate search for food and water.

According to relief workers, virtually no basic emergency aid has reached the disaster areas, even three days after the earthquake. International relief agencies say food distribution systems have broken down and that insufficient supplies have been airlifted into the disaster zone.

Government of Pakistan under President Musharaf’s Leadership is trying its level best to reach unreachable areas where relief is required and also admits the fact that survivors of earthquakes face both the danger of death or physical injury and the loss of their loved ones, homes, possessions, and communities. The effects of these traumas are immeasurable and long lasting. Survivors are at high risk for behavioral and emotional readjustment problems and problems like “nervous reactions” and “reactive depression”.

The earthquake, which left as many as 30,000 dead, hit Pakistan with a tenuous hold on political stability. Crises, whether natural or man-made, tend to beget political instability. Will the political aftershocks of the earthquake be even stronger than the initial quake?

Imran Aziz