CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY FIELD TRIP To AZAD KASHMIR JUNE 2006Written by KRRC
EARTHQUAKE AFFECTED AREAS OF PAKISTAN by Dr Stephen Platt and Emily So
19 July 2006
The funding for this field trip was provided by the EPSRC. Dr Stephen Platt is Chairman of Cambridge Architectural Research Ltd and Emily So is a doctoral student at the Martin Centre, Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge.
The main street through the town is bounded by a vertical wall of iver boulders which by some miracle hasn’t collapsed. Some tentsare still in evidence, but everywhere there is a huge amount of ebuilding. Commerce is thriving, teeming humanity throng thestreets, bumping and jostling into us as we squeeze past, trying to void by mown down by taxis and trucks. Tractors crawl along inthe heavy traffic hauling heavy duty trailers full of grey sand dug rom the bed of the river Jeelum. People making money. Rich andpoor making their way in different ways.
Mubashar Lone, our contact from Burnley for Kashmir, takes us to hotel to meet his friend, a Kashmiri surgeon who also works for KCT, the Kashmir Charitable Trust. The hotel is huge with a wide errace overlooking the river. There are signs of cracking in thewalls that have been patched and inside there is a major repair and efit programme going ahead.Chella Bandi, suburb of Muzaffarabad hella Bandi is a suburb of Muzaffarabad about a mile from the town entre. We are shown signs of damage from the road side and theinterviewers are dispatched in pairs along different side streets. ost of the houses are damaged and some have collapsed entirely.Many are still in tents. Those that own their houses and land arecamped in the cleared ruins of their homes. Those from the landslide area which completely wiped out their community are in smalltented camps.
We are being shepherded around by a couple of young coordinators rom KCT who have been working here . We are introduced to a young man in his late twenties called Rajah Kalim who invites us to ee his home. His was the richest and most influential family in the community.
He described the horrific moments when the earthquake struck and any members of his family were killed. He was very emotional andkept repeating himself. He described how you couldn’t see for dust, ow he ran from the house when the quake started. His brother diedprotecting his mother by covering her with his body. We were wellsettled,
established people, he said, we had a comfortable life. can’t prepare my mind about what to do, he said. The temporaryshelter (Turkish prefab) we have been assigned is too hot. The aid gencies don’t understand the realities on the ground. TheGovernment should explain what people need to do. They have ffered 25,000 R compensation to people. That’s not enough. Ican’t see what is ERRA’s policy. There has been too much delay.
They announced that they would have a plan and would issue advice n a week, then two weeks, then nothing, no action at all. People arefinding this so hard.
The international community needs to help by creating work and hen people could help themselves. My uncle was the chairman ofthis area. First thing the government needs to assess whether it is ossible and safe for people to return and rebuild. Then they needto provide advice about how to rebuild safely. Or help them to igrate to other safer places. 80% of people are mentally isturbed. What can I do?My cousin was trapped for three days near Chella bridge. He ranghis boss on his mobile and told him where he lived and that he was rapped. The rescue team with heavy machinery came after threedays. It was awful. Fathers having to cut the legs off children to get hem out. We were reliant on self-treatment for my mother andsister. My auntie was treated in Islamabad. She couldn’t walk, but ot there herself. The home next door was built by my cousin whois a civil engineer. It was undamaged, whilst our house collapsed ompletely. I believe that the thing is to create awareness of gooddesign amongst people so they will insist on good construction.
Visit to Kashmir Record and Research Council
Interview: Dr Mohsin Shakil. Consultant Urologist,
We are taken by Mubashar to meet people at the Record and Research Council. Trying to make comprehensive record of event. Designed and conducted survey of survivors including 10,000 photos. Some children were stolen and taken to Pakistan. Only have data that they are missing and don’t know what happened to them, they could be dead. It was completely lawless for the first week and the local police didn’t start work for seven days. Even the President said “help yourself”. It was a credit to local people that we managed. We enrolled young people and set up a routine of checking on every area. There was no medical treatment first two days. Medical team from Mirpur first to arrive. They worked in tents until first field hospital arrived on the tenth day. They did 500 amputations on first day.
Records in Muzaffarabad and PIMs should have data about amputations in local field hospitals.
After two or three days the roads were open and people moved out of the area for treatment. It should be easier to establish true figures from this current survey.
Interview: Aamir Khawaja, KRRC coordinator
When the earthquake struck I called my friends and talked about what we should do. The first thing was to establish security forces. People came from the rest of Pakistan to rob and kidnap children and the police force was out of action.
There is a literacy rate of 70% in Kashmir. People aren’t stupid. The government figures of 70,000 dead cannot be correct. I personally buried nine people who were never identified and the cemeteries are full of people who have not been claimed.
We have started a basic computer course and we want to establish a computer company to give more advanced training. The government took 40,000 Rupees duty on the computers we were given from the UK.
Higher up the road in Chella Bandi we visited people in another home. A man in his forties was lying on a bed, being massaged by his wife. He said he was a high school teacher. He was at school teaching when the earthquake happened and was injured trying to save children. His hip was dislocated. He has had 11 operations, all of which have failed to fix it. According to John, he has deep infection. This must be treated before any further operation, which should be by a specialist remedial surgeon.
He has spent 100,000R on operations. He asked for help from the authorities who said he could go back to the government doctor in Muzaffarabad, but ‘he doesn’t know his arse from his elbow”.
He has also had to buy a temporary home for 108,000R that he has erected on the site of his house. His wife was giving him physiotherapy. We joked about his smoking. A sweet poison, he said. A good friend, and a bad enemy.
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