Rescue operation concludes in Harnai as toll climbs to 21

Published October 9, 2021
Residents remove rubble of a collapsed house a day after an earthquake struck the remote mountainous district of Harnai.— AFP
Residents remove rubble of a collapsed house a day after an earthquake struck the remote mountainous district of Harnai.— AFP

QUETTA: The army and Frontier Corps (FC) troops with Provincial Disaster Management Authority and local administration officials completed rescue operations in the earthquake-hit areas of Harnai district and launched a massive relief operation on Friday, while the National Disaster Management Authority, Pakistan Army and Air Force sent relief goods for the quake-affected people.

Official sources said that death toll had risen to 21 as one injured has succumbed to his wounds. Human and property losses took place in around 20km radius area of Harnai district while mostly mud houses and other buildings collapsed and were damaged.

“A 70-year-old man, who was seriously injured in a house collapse in Harani and was shifted to Combined Military Hospital (CMH), Quetta, by an army helicopter, has lost his life,” said the deputy commissioner of Harnai.

He said the rescue operation had almost concluded, but rescue teams were still visiting villages in far-flung areas of Harnai.

Thousands of people rendered homeless waiting for relief items under the open sky

Corps Commander of Balochistan Lt Gen Sarfraz Ali visited the earthquake-hit areas to oversee troops taking part in rescue and relief operations. The army’s urban search and rescue team took part in speedy rescue and relief efforts in Harnai.

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations, medical care was being provided to the injured by the army and FC doctors and paramedics, while all critically injured had been evacuated to CMH, Quetta, through army aviation helicopters. A large number of injured were also evacuated by road.

As many as 300 relief packages containing tents, blankets and food items have been provided to the affected population.

Officials of Pakistan Air Force also distributed food items, tents and other relief goods among the quake-stricken people in and around Harnai town.

Prime minister’s special assistant and chairperson of Ehsaas Programme Dr Sania Nishtar visited Civil Hospital and CMH in Quetta, inquired about the health of injured people and distributed cheques among them.

Governor of Balochistan Syed Zahoor Agha, Chief Secretary Mathar Niaz Rana and local leaders of the PTI were also present on the occasion.

However, thousands of people, who have been rendered homeless, are facing hardships as they have no option other than living under the open sky while waiting for tents, blankets and food.

“Thousands of quake-stricken people, including women, children and elderly people, spent the night under the open sky without tents and proper beds,” Abdullah Khan, a resident of Harnai, told Dawn over telephone. His house was also destroyed in the quake.

“We need a huge quantity of relief goods for people who have been rendered homeless,” Khan said, adding that relief goods that had so for reached Harnai were not enough to cater to the needs of the affected people.

Meanwhile, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani has directed the authorities to intensify the relief work.

The injured people are being brought to Quetta. As many as 33 injured were brought to the Trauma Centre of whom 21 were admitted to Civil Sandman Hospital for further treatment.

Parliamentary secretary for health Dr Rubaba Khan Buledi said that tents had been provided to the attendants of the injured people at hospital.

“Proper arrangements for provision of food and water have been made. Last night, 45 to 50 people were provided accommodation in tents,” she said.

The provincial coordinator of the First Aid Department of Pakistan Red Crescent, Mr Nadeem, said: “More than 50 of our teams are working in Harnai.”

Published in Dawn, October 9th, 2021

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