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
Pakistan and Kashmir, leaving many more injured and missing.
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
Hindu Kush mountains, struck about 96 kilometers northeast of Islamabad. The capital survived, with just one 10-story building collapsing.
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. Click here to read the rest.
Kakar, by the way, went on to an illustrious career with YJI and is now a board member for the Connecticut-based nonprofit. He is a student at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul.