Quake deprives at least 10,000 children from schooling in Awaran

Published October 4, 2013
Earthquake survivors search through the debris of their collapsed houses in the devastated district of Awaran – Photo by AFP
Earthquake survivors search through the debris of their collapsed houses in the devastated district of Awaran – Photo by AFP

QUETTA: A powerful earthquake that hit Balochistan's Awaran district last week has deprived more than 10,000 students from schooling, an official of UNICEF revealed Friday.

Sanaullah Khan Panezai, the Education Chief of UNICEF told Dawn.com that 191 girls and boys schools were razed to ground in the aftermath of a strong earthquake that struck Awaran, sparsely populated and the most backward district of Balochistan.

The schools include primary, middle and high for around 6000 boys and 4000 girls.

There were already poor education indicators before the earthquake in the Balochistan's militancy-hit district. Apart from human losses, the earthquake has also destroyed thousands of mud-walled houses and severely damaged the fragile official infrastructure in the district.

The earthquake has affected 80 to 90 per cent government-run educational institutions in Awaran, Mashkay, Labach, Jao and other areas.

“The kids are displaced and traumatized,” said another UNICEF official on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media. He said the UNICEF was yet to rebuild schools in the area since the government has not made a formal appeal to the United Nations.

“We cannot intervene until a formal appeal is made by the government,” the official explained. However, the UNICEF has prepared a strategy to establish Temporary Learning Centers in the earthquake affected areas to ensure provision of education to the students, he added.

Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, through media, has repeatedly made an appeal to United Nations and other international donor organisations to come forward and support the earthquake affectees.

His government, however, was yet to make a formal appeal to international organisations to support the earthquake survivors. The previous governments had formally appealed the international community to support earthquake survivors of Kashmir and Ziarat.

Apart from deprivation from education, the girls and boys were also exposed to chilly weather in the night and heat during the day.

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