The Kashmir earthquake of 2005 Essay

The earthquake, measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale, struck Muzaffarabad in Pakistan on the 8th October 2005, at 08:52. It had a depth of 10km. The death toll was reported at 75,000. More than 1,000 aftershocks have been recorded, and it is believed there were in excess of 106,000 quake-related injuries.

It was caused by destructive plate tectonics, after the pressure build-up between the Eurasian and Indian plates was too great.

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The effects of the quake were felt by areas in Pakistan such as the city of Karachi and the province Punjab. Four deaths were reported in Afghanistan. The earthquake caused the mountains to rise by several meters. This proves conclusively that the Himalayas are rising.

As Saturday is habitually a school day in Pakistan, many children were at their schools when the quake stuck and were buried under collapsed buildings. Hospitals and services such as armed forces and police were virtually immobilised as infrastructure collapsed and communication became virtually non-existent. It was the month of Ramadan when the quake struck, for which reason many were asleep and therefore had no time to escape buildings, which were poorly constructed and unable to resist the strong up thrust.

More than $4.5 billion in aid flooded in, with US marine and army helicopters assisting in the search for survivors and the transportation of aid. A mass mobilisation of the military was implemented, and shelters for the injured and homeless set up. Humanitarian charities the world over rushed to help speed the relief effort and offer support to the devastated country. Thousands lost their livelihoods, for example in landslides that buried farmland and orchards. Ancestral land and farming infrastructure was destroyed. There are also concerns that aid never reached those most in need of help, rather went to groups with links to extremists. They used it to gain access to orphaned and fatherless children.

Following the quake, the government introduced a compulsory new quake-resistant design that all new houses had to be built with. Compensation given, however, rarely covered the cost of this architecture, leaving families without homes and with no way of building new ones. They are unable to finance it, and so face long-term stays in temporary shelters, braving icy winters with nowhere else to go. Compensation in itself is causing difficulty, with long queues in banks and disputes over claims. Many have received no money at all. The rebuilding efforts, which for many people have yet to begin, are expected to take around 8 years, a figure believed to be too optimistic by some. Terrain and weather conditions are likely to hamper efforts.

It is reported that mountainsides have simply disappeared, and a WWF worker spoke of a huge gap where a mountain simply slid into the river. Much of his work over the last 10 years has been utterly destroyed, with irrigation channels and grain stores gone, collapsing or being buried following the quake. There are fights over scarce food supplies and aid dropped by helicopters; people toting axes; and local residents describe remote valleys as governed by ‘the law of the jungle’. They fight psychologically and physically for survival. Source(s): Wikipedia, bbc.co.uk

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