Atiq ur Rehman
The 12th anniversary of a devastating 2005 earthquake which left nearly one hundred thousand people killed and hundreds of thousands homeless besides destroying the basic infrastructure, will be observed in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir on Sunday (October 08).
The day will start with special prayers for the victims of the quake in mosques and at their graves followed by a one minute silence at 8am in remembrance of martyrs of the quake.
The memorial activities were started on Saturday with a walk organized by State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) led by Secretary of SDMA Zaheer Quraishi aimed to create awareness among the masses about precautionary measures to meet any catastrophe or disaster.
The walk was participated by a large number of people belonging to civil society, government officials, traders and others holding banners about preparatory measures to deal such situations and renewal of enthusiasm to restart life.
The activity was followed by a candle lightening activity at Noluchi bridge, built after the quake and considered as a symbol of reaffirmation and reconstruction after devastation in the town, to remember the movement and people who left their loved ones during the quake.
People of Balakot and adjoining areas would observe 12th anniversary of devastating earthquake which took thousands of the lives and destroyed Balakot city where hospital and schools are still waiting for reconstruction.
At 8:52 a memorial will held at Balakot where the survivors of the earthquake, members of the civil society and other organizations would attended a ceremony and will observe a minute silence.
On 8th October, 2005 some 80,000 people died and houses were destroyed when an earthquake of 7.6 magnitude hit Azad Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at 08:52am 12 years ago.
According to the statistics the devastating earthquake left more than 17,000 people dead in Balakot alone. Collective prayer for the victims will be offered at different places of the Balakot.
The deadly earthquake brought a wave of destruction in the Hazara division particularly in Balakot and surrounding areas.
According to the figures of Provincial Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (PERRA), 2,959 schools and colleges were destroyed and less than half of the destroyed building could be rebuilt.
People are angry over the non-completion of Tehsil Headquarter Hospital and other damaged infrastructure, on many occasions they have registered their protest for the non completion of the hospital and schools in the region but nothing happened. On the 12th anniversary the survivors have demanded the government to reconstruct the schools and health centers.