General

The closing window for quake victims

It’s been just about a month and one week since the earthquake struck northern Pakistan. Long enough for people to start becoming desensitized and lose interest. The earlier failures in getting aid to the right people have also compounded this problem. But frankly, there is little ordinary people can do at this point since the areas accessible by road or a short hike have mostly already been covered.

At this point, it is mostly a matter of how efficiently the helicopters can transport aid, and they are doing that really well. From 7 o’clock sharp each morning, they can be heard flying from Islamabad airport and the flights continue throughout the day till sunset. Pairs of the twin-rotored Chinooks can be seen at virtually all times of the day, flying back and forth between Islamabad and the Kashmir region. As I saw on the BBC, they try to stay only for a few minutes in each village while the goods are unloaded and immediately fly back for more. In this way, they have provided the bulk of aid goods in the remote areas. This however, is an expensive flight. If I heard correctly, each Chinook costs about 14,000 pounds per hour to operate.

As of last night, the mild weather Islamabad was enjoying for the past couple of months suddenly took a cold turn. Even during the day, warm clothing was required to go outside and I think I saw frost in the morning. When the Capital’s temperature suddenly drops like this, it is a sign of snow in the nearby mountainous areas. Areas like Murree or Muzaffarabad. I don’t know how many people and places are still short of aid, but this could mark the end for most of them.

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