Saturday, October 08, 2005

Pakistan earthquake link

This morning's earthquake death toll is over 3,000.
The SEA EAT Blog people have set up another site to keep track of this disaster, South Asia Quake Help .

I notice one of the first links to this disaster is a Muslim group, LIFE for Relief and Development.
LIFE Michigan 17300 W. 10 Mile Road, Southfield,MI 48075, Phone 248.424.7493 or 1.800.827.3543
...also LIFE California, LIFE Canada, LIFE Afghanistan/Pakistan, LIFE Iraq, LIFE Jordan, LIFE Syria, LIFE Sierra Leone and LIFE United Arab Emirates.

The whole world is getting a taste of tragedy in 2005. Each time the response should be getting faster and more efficient. What a nasty and disagreeable learning curve!
If there is a bright side, it could be that the world may be better prepared when and if the H5N1 virus mutates into a human-to-human variety.

Update Sunday morning:
Casualty number now up to 18,000.
Joe Gandleman has put together a string of links and snips.

Cement is the main construction material for most of the world, including the US.
As we have seen, when a cement structure starts to come apart, the "pancaking" of floors results. Every time I go into the parking garage and see the way it is put together with naked cement I say to myself What would happen if it started to collapse? Where would one go? How could anyone escape? As I look at the structure I realize how much we depend on the earth not shaking.

We have seen that pancaking effect in Oklahoma City and the World Trade Center. Whether the result of an explosion or an earthquake, the very idea is frightening.

From Reuters...

The U.S. Geological Survey said the tremor occurred at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles). It struck about 95 km (60 miles) northeast of Islamabad and was felt across the subcontinent, shaking buildings in the Afghan, Indian and Bangladeshi capitals.

The first quake was followed over the next 18 hours by more than 20 aftershocks with magnitudes of between 4.5 and 6.3. Thousands of people in northern Pakistan slept in the open while residents of the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, were kept on edge through the night by tremors.

Some 400 children were killed at two schools in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province. A military spokesman said 215 Pakistani soldiers were killed in the hardest-hit areas.

Half of the Indian deaths were in Uri, the last big town on the road connecting the two sides of the violence-scarred region. The dead included 15 soldiers, some in bunkers close to a military ceasefire line.

Landslides blocked the 300-km (190-mile) road that connects Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir, to the rest of India to the south. The Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road linking Indian and Pakistani Kashmir, reopened to traffic this year for the first time in nearly 60 years, was also blocked.

Ghulam Rashool, an official at the Pakistan Meteorological Department, said it was the strongest earthquake in South Asia since the 1905 Kangra earthquake that killed 20,000 people in India's Madhya Pradesh state.

In Islamabad, rescuers found at least two survivors clinging to life in the ruins of apartment blocks that crashed down on scores of residents. Twenty-three bodies had been found but about 90 people were pulled alive from the Margala Towers blocks where expatriate workers and middle-class Pakistanis lived, officials said.

A boy was pulled out alive on Sunday morning to the cheers of rescue workers who said there were other survivors still trapped. A medical officer at the scene, Faisal Kakar, said a woman had been found alive in a space underneath the rubble, and she had said three or four other survivors were with her. A short time earlier, another rescue worker said a man was found alive pinned in the ruins.

Pledges of aid from around the world came within hours. President George W. Bush said U.S. aid was on the way and Britain said it was sending search and rescue
experts and sniffer dogs.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan sent condolences to Pakistan, and a U.N. Disaster and Coordination Team in Geneva was on standby to be deployed. Oxfam and other aid agencies planned to coordinate their response with the United Nations.
Turkey, which has suffered major earthquakes in the past, said it had sent two military planes carrying aid, doctors and rescue workers. Japan sent a team of 49 aid workers.

In a further sign of easing tension between India and Pakistan, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called Musharraf to offer assistance. (Additional reporting by Robert Birsel and Suzanna Koster in Islamabad, Kamil Zaheer in Baramulla, Y.P. Rajesh in New Delhi)

Update, still Sunday morning...
The toll is now past 30,000.

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