Although various parts of the countries receive jolts throughout the year their magnitude is not much to cause any severe damage to the infrastructure or the people. However there was one earthquake which jolted the entire nation and it was the earthquake of 2005. An earthquake with magnitude 7.8 recorded on the rector scale, hit the Muzaffarabad District, Azad State of Jammu and Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtunkwa. This earthquake was the strongest one traced in the area during the previous hundred years.
No other calamity before this catastrophe had such a disastrous effect on the country. Atleast 73000 people were killed while 70000 were left injured. Half of the people in Muzaffarabad lost their homes. Even the larger cities of the country including the capital Islamabad and Rawalpindi came under the spread of the destruction caused by the earthquake. Margalla Tower which was a ten story residential building crumpled and most of its inhabitants died in the collapse. Various road routes were blocked because of the debris, power loss was recorded for a period of several weeks, water supply and telecommunication services were hampered in the earthquake affected Northern Areas of the country.
There was large scale land sliding in the area which was a major feature of the earthquake. The earthquake had a severe economic impact as the revenue generating Tourism Industry almost collapsed. Regions of the country like Swat, Naran, Kaghan, etc were lost somewhere in the midst as it seemed that these areas never existed. People from all around the globe used to come to visit these beautiful sites but these sites were no more. With the collapse of the tourism industry millions became unemployed.
In such severe circumstances the people of the country who never seemed to be united before got together to help the country and their brothers and sisters in the Northern Areas of the country. Their relief efforts were worth watching as students and even people from the elite class got forward to contribute. Not only did they make contributions financially, they also provided physical help in the form of setting up camps and then loading items onto the helicopters so that they could be delivered to the needy. Such a huge catastrophe had to receive media coverage and the media played an important role in bringing together popular personalities from all over the country on their channels so they could directly appeal to the people for collection of funds.
While the locals were busy helping the earthquake victims, other countries in the world did not hesitate in providing Pakistan with help. Pakistan organized a donor's conference in which $6.2 billion were promised by nations present during the conference. A large proportion of the help came in the form of providing Pakistan with the services of International NGOs.
Natural calamities are events which could not be stopped however certain precautions could be taken by countries. The earthquake of 2005 taught Pakistan few lessons in this regard. While constructing buildings and homes certain codes need to be enforced to ensure that proper earthquake proof material is being used. Earthquakes occur and they would continue to do so but it is necessary that Governments accept responsibility and take precautionary steps to deal with such extraordinary situations.
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