In Rememberance

I wanted to share some grim images and thoughts from last year, penned by me on my blog a few months backs. Read on below.

My dear country has gone through alot in its young life. Wars, coups, sanctions and more wars. But on 9th October 2005 the Kashmir Earthquake scared the crap out of me. It was ‘the’ most horrific day of my life as a Pakistani citizen.

Yet, only 10 months on, I feel I and Pakistan as a whole has forgotten that we lost more than 80,000 of our brethern in just over a few days, and more than 100,000 were left injured with countless more homeless. I, and many more like me are safe and comfortable in our homes, in urban towns with all the facilities of the world. We have easily forgotten that the people actually effected by the Earthquake are still in suffering and most of them have nothing to start their lives with. To this day relief operations are taking place and the rehabilitation of the North West Frontier Province, and Kashmir is going on!

Shocked EffecteeTo refresh our memories I have collected some links, all over again, to help us realize that there are people who still need our help, thoughts and prayers. The amount of devastation that this Earthquake caused is incomparible. Pakistan lost a huge chunk of its population in a matter of days, and there was no one to blame, except ask God for forgiveness and wellbeing. This page by UnitedPakistan about the list of things they still require reminds me of the time when I was about to have a emotional breakdown seeing all the devastation and destruction on Television and in person by actually helping out on the Maragalla Towers Site. Yes, like many other young men and women, I realized it was me who was needed out there not my neighbour or my relative. The nation united for a single cause, and from New York to New Karachi, relief aid started to move towards the effected area without any hesitation or second thoughts. I forced mom, and dad to empty out all the closets with useless clothes and shoes, and buy toys to send to the local make shift hopitals in Islamabad. Islamabad authority was wise enough to provide all un-used buildings near the Margalla towers site for rescue and relief operations. There was an empty plaza that turned into an amazing hospital full of doctors that werent even listed with any hospitals. Doctors, out of retirement, came out to help. Their experience and touch was the need of the hour for the children left homeless and orphaned by the event! Rock climbing and trekking hobbiests were summoned for their help at the F-10 site for they were best suited to crawl inside the debris using any experince they had handling rocks and stones. The British personelle of the International Rescue Corp brought home the equipment that was badly needed at the site of such and unforeseeable catastrophe and Islamabad. Young men were heard chanting “Allah Ho Akbar!” (God is Great!) whenever there was someone heard from inside to be calling for help. It was electric and everyone was charged up with emotion. Local residents of F-10 found it easy to empty their pockets and buy the foriegn teams on the site with fresh food from the local super stores and dokans! I bet they even got to enjoy some Tikka and Naan! Food is never a problem for Pakistanis, we love to cook it and make others eat it! Hehe :) At the site, there was no form to fill out. It was simple and straight forward to enlist for help. Me and my friend went up to one of the tents right outside the Margalla Towers’ site and asked the organizors when to show up. He said, “Tommorrow morning, I have all the help right now, tomorrow I will relieve these guys and your help will be needed; havent slept for 2 days straight!” Helping is not that hard, only if you know you want to.

Organizations like RISEPak gave online-updates to the hour about the relief aid and requirements. It became an essential tool to actually coordinate the direction of aid needed in various regions up north. Open up the topic on Wikipedia, and you will see a million more websites listed still needing aid money to take to the effectees. This quake certianly sent shockwaves around the world as websites like The Pakistan Quake.com sprang up and started listing all the international donation hotlines on their main pages. Pictures from workers in the regions formed hot blogging material as they could tell their story from the region as they saw it with their eyes!

Open up my October Archive, and you will see how horrible my condition was back then! I even wrote a small letter to BBC which ended up getting published on their website. A whole list of useful links important back then are also listed. Information and updates were the need of the hour. To this day, I pray to God, not to test us with such devastating natural calamities. We might be weak at faith, but we are strong in love and devotion! Ameen

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