It was a year ago, October 8th, 2005, that one of the deadliest quakes in history struck this region, leaving over 73,000 people dead, millions homeless and whole cities decimated.
Though most people have put it behind them, I still can’t forget that fateful Ramadan morning when I woke up in a dazed state and felt everything around me shaking itself to bits, my mind somehow treating this as a normal state of things. Then the realization, after what must have been minutes, that it was an earthquake and a large one at that. Even then, I had no clue whatsoever about the magnitude of losses.
I blogged about everything that we in Islamabad went through, right from the initial reactions to the depression that took hold of most people that I knew. Then about my trip to Muzaffarabad to help out with the relief efforts. I had wanted to return the very next week, maybe to another area such as Bagh, yet it has been a year and that hasn’t happened (finding a job and trying to build a career does that to you). However, a neighbour who was in Muzaffarabad recently, has described how little has changed in a year. Even the smell of rotting corpses hasn’t completely left the city.
On this sombre occasion, there is little I can say. I wish I could save the people that died. I wish there was more I could do back then to help those in need. I wish things were back to normal for everyone, yet the most we can do is pray for those that are no more and do the best we can in helping all those in need.
You can read more about how things currently are in the quake affected areas at this BBC page and this gallery about how the people of the Palas valley have coped.