Earthquake in North West Frontier Province, Pakistan
A 7.6 earthquake hit Pakistan at 8:52 am Saturday, 8 October local time. Some have counted aftershocks to 150 and they last a long time. Some say 50,000 dead in Pakistan and rising but over a hundred thousand are homeless. An Estimated 20,000 children have been killed in the area.
The earthquake has hit the hardest in areas where we used to live, the North West Frontier Province. One area we visited called Balakot, a town of 50,000 and the gateway to the Khagan Valley, has been leveled. The road to Balakot has been blocked by a landslide about 3 miles from town. People are mourning and burying their dead. Some are trying to dig underneath rubble in the hope of finding loved ones alive. Several school roofs fell, killing children. Two children have been found alive in the rubble of a Balakot school. 40 children have been found alive in Shaheen Foundation School in Balakot. Huge areas of mountain have slipped into the river.
People from the mountain areas have lost everything and are starting to leave the mountains. The army is working on clearing roads; relief agencies are moving in to help. There is a great need for winterised tents as the cold and snowy winter is fast approaching.
Abbottabad, where we used to live, and Murree and Islamabad where 'Borderland' is set have also been hit. Doctors are seeing people outside under trees as the government hospitals have been damaged. Murree Christian School where our children attended is still standing.
Once while we were living in Abbottabad there was an earthquake. The terrible eerie rumble in the earth like underground thunder preceded the shaking and woke us up. The cement floor rolled like waves and we couldn't walk straight across it to get to the children's rooms. Lamps fell to the floor. The electricity went off. That time there was damage to mud houses but not many died. Imagine how much worse this earthquake is.
A Pakistani friend writes: Many villages have disappeared from the face of the earth, many have lost their homes and loved ones. Desperate help is needed, please pray.
We have heard that friends in Kabul are fine, but there is much damage in Kashmir.
We feel very sorry for those who are missing loved ones and have no home.
If you would like to help, contact the World Vision Australia website appeal - http://www.worldvision.com.au/appeals/pakistanearthquake/.
There are more news stories and fresh information at World Vision's regional website:
If you would like to read a story about an earthquake, read 'Jamil's Shadow' by Christine Harris.