22 July, 2014 / Ramazan 23, 1435

MASHKEL, BALOCHISTAN: Thousands of people, including women and children, are awaiting relief out in the simmering heat of Balochistan’s border town of Mashkel.

The remote village was badly affected Tuesday by a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Iran, which sent tremors across the border and saw most of it's mud houses and shops destroyed.

Forty people have been reported to have been killed while over 100 are injured. Military helicopters have airlifted some 20 critically injured to CMH Quetta.

Relief efforts are underway by the Pakistani military, but locals complained of a shortage of food supplies, drinking water and tents. The area has been without electricity since it was jolted by the powerful tremors.

Locals said the area gets electricity from Iran across the border.

Two aftershocks have struck the area since this morning and residents are still in a state of panic and fear. More than 2,000 houses and dozens of shops have been razed to the ground by the earthquake.

Mashkel is a remote village close to the Pakistan-Iran border and is the worst affected by the earthquake. It has a population of around 40,000.

It took at least 20 hours for the media, including Dawn.com’s correspondent, to reach the affected area.

Locals said when the earthquake struck Mashkel, not a single doctor was present in the village. The only available facility was a rural health centre operated by a lone dispenser, barely able to cater to the injured. This resulted in additional casualties which could have been avoided had prompt medical help reached in time.

Haji Abdur Rasheed Reiki, the head of elders of Mashkel, is a worried man.

“No help has reached us. It is just the military which is helping us in a limited way. There are no signs of any civilian administration or a mechanism for the provision of medical aid. We need food and drinking water desperately. The weather is very hot too. It will take weeks for us to rebuild our houses. But for that we need help,” he told Dawn.com.

Reiki said most families were taking shelter under the trees.

Dost Mohammed, a vegetable vendor, saw his shop and house destroyed.

Facing an uncertain future, he has already started rebuilding his house but is still worried about his business.

“My shop is destroyed and I don’t know whether the government will help us to rebuild our shops and houses. Right now there is no hope as no one is coming for our help. We are very far away from cities but I request my brothers in other parts of the province to send us help,” Mohammad said.

The quake also completely destroyed the area’s communication system.

Inspector General Frontier Corps Obaidullah Khan visited the area this morning to assess the damage and directed FC personnel stationed there to provide all help to the affected.

According to the ISPR, five helicopters have reached Mashkhel along with medical staff, tents, 1,000 kilograms of medicines and 1,800 kilograms of rations along with other relief items on an emergency basis.

US offers to help

Putting aside America’s longstanding enmity with Iran, and its more recent strains in relations with Pakistan, US Secretary of State John Kerry offered “our deepest condolences” to the families of the dead and to the injured.

“We stand ready to offer assistance in this difficult time,” he said.

Disaster relief contributed to an earlier thaw in relations between the United States and Iran, which — then led by reformist president Mohammad Khatami — accepted US personnel following the huge Bam earthquake in 2003.

The United States has also engaged in disaster diplomacy with Pakistan, briefly improving its abysmal image in the country through a robust relief operation following a 2005 earthquake in Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon also expressed condolences after Tuesday’s Iran-Pakistan disaster.

“I will continue to follow the news closely as relief workers and search-and-rescue teams reach the areas. The United Nations stands ready to help as necessary if asked to do so,” he said. —AFP

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Comments (19) (Closed)


Haroon
Apr 17, 2013 08:12pm
Well said. Nice to see a sensible reply to the usual bashing one sees in such news articles.
Me
Apr 17, 2013 04:05pm
I think that your comment is sick and outrageous. If you think it's rational, you really need to think again. 'We have our own reasons to hate'. I am amazed that was deemed readable by Dawn.
MOHAMMAD
Apr 17, 2013 07:44am
PAK ARMY IS ALWAYS READY TO HELP THE NEEDY. NOW THE BALOCHS, PREVIOUSLY THE KASHMIRIS SUFFERED DUE TO EARTHQUAKE. ALSO THE FLOODS HIT THE NATION. THE WHOLE NATION IN FACING THE WRATH OF NATURE BECAUSE WE PAKISTANIS ARE WRONG MANY OF US ARE DISHONEST, KILLERS, SELF CENTERED AND CHEATS. WE NEED TO THINK OF PLEASING ALLAH BY AVOIDING BLOODSHED, AVOIDING CORRUPTION. WE NEED TO FIND NEW METHODS TO STRENGTHEN OUR HOLY LAND AND STRENGTHEN ITS ARMY. WE MUST SAY PAKISTAN ZINDABAAD.
another-muneeb
Apr 17, 2013 07:17am
Can't we get a break? Is inept governance, load shedding, failing economy, daily bombings not enough that God decides to pile on another disaster? Sometimes I wonder what have we done to deserve such a horrible fate.
Guru
Apr 17, 2013 03:30pm
Last time during the floods, Americans flew their helicopters in rescue missions, round the clock, saving lives. No strings attached, no expectations. Chinese came in once the situation stabilised and did some show, nothing much. One of the biggest of sins is lack of gratitude.
Jalaluddin S. Hussain
Apr 17, 2013 03:40am
It is most generous of the USA to offer help to both Iran and Pakistan in their hours of need. It is now the turn of both the countries, Iran and Pakistan, to reciprocate the offer of help in the same way..
james
Apr 17, 2013 09:57am
I guess you dont have any clue about ground realities. China most of the time help logistically in order to avoid mishandling of the help if its in terms of cash. Last time they gave all the heavy equipment for the rescue operation in Pakistan during floods. On the other hand US always/mostly give aid in terms of cash which most of the time or always goes into the pockets of politicians (dont bother to write corrupt because they are all/almost all corrupt). So at the end Pakistani politicians like US and Pakistani people like China. And its the reason why Its called Higher than mountains, deeper than sea because it really goes to place where it matters not for publicity or corruption.
I
Apr 17, 2013 08:05am
I must say u r right bro, being an indian i never thought i would say that especially when a comment starts off with the praise of pakistan army . We have our own reasons for hating but keeping these aside i truely support ur point
chaya
Apr 17, 2013 03:13am
I understand the US concern for the lost lives. But in reality, many more are killed by terrorists attack and also by drone attack. Who sympathizes with the victims?
Indian
Apr 17, 2013 08:07am
ask ur soul and u will get the answer !
MOHAMMAD
Apr 17, 2013 07:01am
in the hours of need we should help each other.
shariff
Apr 17, 2013 02:23pm
We could not save a young man in karachi who was hanging on a window for several minutes.How can we do some thing for far flung Baloch areas.
gangadin
Apr 17, 2013 02:02pm
There is a name Dost Muhammad mentioned above. I don't think he cares where the aid is coming from as long as he get some help. So this debate about China and US is totally non-productive. Refrain from useless discussion, get out and help. And never mind Allah. May be Allah did not make these people suffer but did this to see your reaction and what you learn from it.
Khanm
Apr 17, 2013 08:31am
Earth quakes don’t kill poverty does….. Those people died cos of poor infra structure/ Weak housing structures…..let us not bring religion into this sad tragedy… whether it is wrath of God or our test it is only Allah knows. Believing in wrath of god will probably put this question whether we should help those victims whom Allah has put his curse on them ………let us help those victims on humanitarian grounds
Asad
Apr 17, 2013 12:57pm
Provided we find a soul.
raika45
Apr 17, 2013 12:17pm
Can you please explain what you mean by "heavy equipment". Tell me what sort of such equipment is required.Our country has bad floods once in a while.All you need is trucks,boats,shelter,food, clothing and medication.Don't tell me your country has no tractor shovels to clear roads?So what is this heavy machinery you are talking about?You did not even have heavy duty pumps to pump out the flooded fields that remained water logged for months.I am not anti Pakistan nor anti China but the fact is that the Chinese will weigh their involvement mostly for their benefit.No offence meant.
Guru
Apr 17, 2013 08:46am
US is one country that rushes to help, always. I wonder where is the 'Higher than the mountains, deeper than the sea" friend China?
raika45
Apr 17, 2013 10:54am
Leave the military aspect out of this.We are talking of a humanitarian issue.America and it's PEOPLE have always been in the forefront whenever a natural calamity occurs especially in the third world countries for years.Their charity in such cases has no strings attached.One should be grateful for such help.That is if such aid especially in the form of cash reaches the proper recipients and does not "slip through the the fingers of the ones in charge" as has happened during previous disasters.
Akram
Apr 17, 2013 10:24am
The Chinese don't have a battered image to repair, they are already helping stabilize the mess the US has made.