2005 quake anniversary marked amid calls for disaster preparedness

October 09, 2019

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Students of government high school Balakot pray for the departed souls of 80 students, who were killed in 2005 earthquake. — Dawn
Students of government high school Balakot pray for the departed souls of 80 students, who were killed in 2005 earthquake. — Dawn

MANSEHRA: The 14th anniversary of the 2005 earthquake was marked in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Tuesday amid calls for preparedness to effectively respond to future disasters to minimise damage to public life and property.

Rallies were taken out in Mansehra district’s Balakot town, which was badly hit by the 7.6 earthquake, while special prayer ceremonies were held.

The local traders closed shops and gathered at the mass grave of over 80 students, who had died after the building of the Government High School, Balakot, collapsed.

People attend special prayers, walks in large numbers

The calamity survivors marched on different roads of the city before gathering at the Ayub Bridge.

The main event was held at the Government High School, Balakot, where local MPA Ahmad Hussain Shah, ADC Yasir Khan and DEO Khan Mohammad Swati spoke.

The lawmaker regretted that quake survivors had been living in prefabricated houses for 14 years without an access to education, healthcare and other amenities.

He demanded of the government to announce amega financial package for them.

Mr Shah said if the government’s plan to turn the New Balakot City housing project into a tourism- friendly zone eased the misery of quake survivors, then it would be welcomed.

Former president of the district bar association Munir Lughmani said the government should allot plots to calamity survivors in line with a Supreme Court ruling.

“We won’t accept any tourism initiative if the families displaced by earthquake are not taken into confidence about it,” he warned.

Also in the day, a ceremony was held in Mingora to mark the anniversary of the 2005 earthquake.

The speakers asked people to prepare themselves for effectively respond to disasters both natural and manmade to minimise loss of public life and property.

In Jamrud area of Khyber tribal district, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority in collaboration with the local administration held a seminar and a walk to mark the National Disaster Awareness Day.

Noted among participants were PDMA director general Pervez Sabahat, additional secretary (relief and settlement) Roshan Mehsud, deputy commissioner Mehmood Aslam Wazir and director (emergency) Zeeshan Abdullah.

In Lakki Marwat city, the District Boy Scouts Association held a walk to mark the National Disaster Awareness Day.

Led by deputy DEO Fidaullah Khan and district secretary of the scouts association Nisar Mohammad Khan, the participants marched on roads from the Government Shaheed Mohammad Ghassan Khan Centennial Model High School to the Old Kutchery Road.

They carried banners with messages highlighting the importance of the day and the people’s role in reducing disaster risks.

In Ghalanai area of Mohmand tribal district, the 2005 earthquake’s anniversary was marked as the National Disaster Awareness Day.

The Pakistan Red Crescent Society Mohmand in collaboration with the district administration and departments organised an event in the ADC’s officeto express solidarity with the families, who lost members to calamities.

In Buner district’s Daggar area, the district administration in collaboration with the tehsil municipal administration, education department and Rescue 1122 held a function at the Centennial Model High School.

Also, a disaster awareness walk was held with students, teachers and officials in attendance.

Walks were also held in Shangla, Charsadda, Orakzai and other parts of the province to mark the National Disaster Awareness Day.

Published in Dawn, October 9th, 2019