Making a permanent impression since 1994
October 9, 2005
Surviving a killer quake in Pakistan
By Edrees Kakar
Without waiting for instructions from our teachers, we all ran from the building, terrified for our lives.
We had good reason to fear. The massive quake that
registered a 7.6 on the Richter scale killed at least 19,000 people in
I was lucky. My family is safe and my house is intact so far.
The authorities have warned us that we could experience aftershocks for weeks after the original quake, particularly in the first 48 hours. They can deadly.
By Sunday afternoon, there had been more than 200 aftershocks, some measuring as much as 5.9 on the Richter scale.
Most of the aftershocks were not too strong and people
could not feel them. But we really felt others.
During one of them, I was watching television as my brother slept beside me. When I felt the earth moving again, I woke my brother and got us both out of the house, fast.
But running from the house probably brings more peace of mind than safety.
The houses in my neighborhood all two-stories high and made of concrete are close together and small. The streets are narrow, only about five meters wide.
If a building collapsed and we were on the street next to it, it would be dangerous.
It is very difficult to go outside.
The quake, which was centered in the
But families lived there, and reports say 150 people are still underneath it. It was a new building, and residents told television reporters that it collapsed in five seconds.
Rescue teams are now trying to dig through the rubble.
At my school, we students were all inside, just in the second period of the school day, when the quake hit without warning. We all heard it and felt the school shaking. It was a very bad feeling, real dangerous.
We ran outside, and small children were crying. Everyone was scared.
After a short time, school officials told us all to go to our homes.
The news reports are saying it is the largest one in 100 years here.
In my town, only one house collapsed, and it was made of clay. But people are still waiting in fear of the aftershocks.
We cannot sleep. The first night, we got about two hours of rest. No one can sleep calmly because were all worried about the aftershocks.
My city was spared, with not much damage and nine people dead, but in some towns 90 percent of the houses collapsed, news reports said.
Almost all the cities nearby suffered, with only
On Sunday, a family friend called my house to wake us in the middle of the night to eat before the fast begins. It is Ramadan, and as Muslims, we are fasting. We dont eat between and sundown, which is even more difficult under these circumstances.
The president of
In response, other countries are coming to help.
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