2005 Kashmir Earthquake


In the heart of the Himalaya Mountains, Kashmir is located in-between Pakistan and India. Kashmir’s snow peaks and large valleys have historically hosted several different cultures and housed scholarly learning centers. Kashmir inhabits a crossroad which lies atop a web of active faults and on what seemed like an ordinary day one of those faults gave away, which resulted in one of the worst earthquake's known to mankind.
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It occurred at 08:52:37 Pakistan Standard Time on the 8th of October 2005. The earthquake was registered at a magnitude of 7.6, which makes it most similar to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. In a matter of seconds, the once beautiful Kashmir seemed more like a disaster zone then anything else. Pakistan’s official death toll is said to be at 79,000 while 1,400 died in the Indian Kashmir and also four in Afghanistan. The earthquake injured more then 100,000 people and also directly affected 3 million people by either leaving them homeless or leaving them stranded. The two towns, which suffered the most damage because of their location, were Muzzaffarabad and Balakot.


Also in addition to the earthquake, the after effects left massive landslides, which buried away people, houses, and even entire towns. Tens of thousands of people died because of the landslides and other after effects of the earthquake. In response to the earthquake, Pakistan and India dropped their hostility to one another and cooperated in relief efforts. Instead of armies of each country getting ready to fight each other, they banned together to bring assistance and aid to the people of Kashmir and Northern Pakistan. The Indian and Pakistan governments also welcomed assistance from the United States army and air force, which almost immediately launched a massive operation to bring relief to victims.


The 2005 Kashmir earthquake displaced more then [than] three million people, most of which [whom] were residents in the Kashmir region. [new paragraph] Over hundreds of years the plates between the Indian and Eurasian areas formed the Himalaya Mountains, which in turn made the region susceptible to earthquakes. Kashmir sits atop two colliding tectonic plates, which include the vast Eurasian plate that underlies China, Europe, Russia, and much of the Middle East, and the small Indian plate that underlies most of Pakistan and India. Jean-Phillipe Avouac, a professor and a geologist at the California Institute of Technology said, “Northern India is being thrust under the Himalaya, and the mountains are being pushed up by this motion. It's a small increment of deformation, which over millions of years has built the Himalaya range.

This slow-motion collision created one of the planet's most active earthquake hotspots; as the plates collide, stress builds up in the fault zones where the plates meet.” Sometimes when this happens the shallow fault can rupture the surface as what happened in this case. The surface rupture is recorded to have extended for nearly seventy-five kilometers or forty-seven miles. In history records not one of the earthquakes in Himalaya has produced a surface rupture, not in India, Nepal, Pakistan, or anywhere. This kind of rupture was the first of its kind, which is why the result ended up being so deadly.
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The following shows the events that took place after Earthquake Kashmir.
[According to expierencefestival.com]

"In Northern Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir, the Pakistan Army has been directed to extend all out help to the civilian population in the quake-hit areas. All civilian and military hospitals have been directed to deal with the situation on an emergency basis. The President and the Prime Minister have appealed to the nation to remain calm in the face of the calamity and asked the concerned authorities to carry out an immediate assessment of the extent of damage caused by it.The Government of Pakistan opened President's Relief Fund (Pakistan) [31] for Earthquake relief operation, where donations can be made and also appealed for International Aid as the magnitude of the disaster becomes [became] clear.Earthquake relief blankets, tents, medicine, warm clothes, food and many more supplies are [were?] needed.[32][33][34]. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has offered free delivery of goods from anywhere in the world to Pakistan. Turkey has offered to airlift relief goods that arrive in Turkey to Pakistan free of cost.Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz spoke on the telephone with authorities in four provinces plus Azad Kashmir, and directed them to utilize all machinery and make all possible efforts to help the victims. He said the entire federal administration, civil and military authorities have been alerted, and relief goods have been provided to them for the victims of the quake. Most of the roads are closed in the Northern Sector near the earthquake, and some have been completely washed out or blocked by landslides, so the Pakistani army is flying supplies in by helicopter.
In Garhi Habibullah, a town 205 miles (328 km) from the devastated city of Balakot in north-west Pakistan, Kashmiri fighters known as the mujahideen put aside their weapons and spent two days in helping rescue dozens of girls who were trapped in a collapsed building of a girls' school. [35]On October 10, Monday, survivors were still being found and rescued from the wreckage including a 2-year-old girl in Islamabad. [36]. Then on Wednesday, a Russian rescue team rescued a 5-year-old girl in Muzaffarabad who has[had] been trapped for nearly 100 hours. [37]On October 14 the Pakistan government agreed that unaccompanied children from the disaster should be taken to the SOS Children emergency shelter in Islamabad for family tracing in a central database and help. They also agreed that SOS should be temporary guardian until relatives were traced. (SOS)
The Pakistani people from all regions and walks of life donated a huge amount of relief supplies in both goods and money for the earthquake victims which is unprecedented in the history of nations. [38]" - (http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/2005_Kashmir_earthquake_-_Rescue_and_relief_operations/id/603378)

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Most of the casualties from the Earthquake occurred in Pakistan where the official death toll stands at 74,698. The reason this disaster was different from others in the past was because of the unfortunate time of events. With Saturday being a normal school day in the region most students were attending school while the disaster took place. Also this was the month of Ramadan, and the earthquake ended up catching most people napping in their homes after their pre-dawn meal. The earthquake took everyone by surprise and collapsed buildings and schools in the region[,] leaving people to perish in the rum[b]ble or to be trapped and left to die without the aid of help.

“…A second, massive wave of death will happen if we do not step up our efforts now, people are in need of medical attention, food, clean water and shelter and the 120,000 survivors that have not yet been reached.” - Kofi Annan

According to Pakistan’s Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz
Announced to the survivors “to come down to valleys and cities for relief, because bad weather, mountainous terrain, landslides, and blocked roads are making it difficult for relief workers to reach each house and the winter snows are imminent."


Rescue and relief options were sent from India, Pakistan, and even International efforts gave a helping hand. Roads buried in rumble stopped relief efforts in many small villages and many affected areas remained unattainable. Rescuers also lacked the proper equipment needed to clear the roads in order to rescue the survivors who were trapped behind or buried in earthquake leftovers. Many rescuers were forced to use their bare hands and pickaxes to pick up the debris to help survivors. To make matters worse there were numerous aftershocks that violently rattled the region consistently making rescue efforts less effective and more dangerous.
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Pakistan and India opened five different crossing points on the Line of Co[n]trol between Kashmir [and what?]. The first was opened at Chakan Da Bagh in Poonch, the second at Kaman Post in Uri, and the third across the Neelum River between Tithawl in India and Chiliana in Pakistan, and the fourth and fifth were created in close by positions. These crossings helped people meet their relatives and also facilitate the flow of relief goods. In many areas people lacked adequate food or water and were left with no power. The danger of disease spreading was increasing dramatically as more bodies began appearing. Distributing relief supplies became extremely urgent to victims because winter was approaching and the risk of exposure to cold temperatures. Many Countries, non-governmental organizations, and international organizations offered relief in the form of supplies, food, medical supplies, blankets, tents and donations. The United Nations made an appeal to raise US 272 million dollars in order to help victims.



Sources

“2005 Kashmir Earthquake – Public Knowledge Web. 10 Dec 2009
< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_Kashmir_earthquake>


"Pneumonia hits Pakistan quake zone". (8 November 2005). New Straits Times, p. 6.


"Kashmir: politics of an Earthquake" by Jan McGirk October 19, 2005”


“Kashmir Earthquake” – Online Encyclopedia. “The 2005 Kashmir Earthquake” Web. 8 Jan 2008. <http://www.onlinenyclopedia.com/kashmirearthquake>

"2005 Kashmir Earthquake, Rescue and Relief Operations" - Global Oneness Web. 5 March 2006. <http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/2005_Kashmir_earthquake_-_Rescue_and_relief_operations/id/603378>