Pakistan expats fret over slow quake relief

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Pakistan expats fret over slow quake relief

UAE-based expatriates from the Pakistan province of Balochistan, which was devastated by a strong earthquake on September 24, have expressed their anger over delayed relief supplies to affected areas.


Nissar Hoath

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Published: Sat 28 Sep 2013, 1:42 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 6:42 PM

Most of the people from the earthquake-affected areas who spoke to Khaleej Times were furious that no efforts or initiatives to launch relief campaigns are being taken by the Pakistan Embassy, community organisations and schools in the UAE. “Normally, whenever there is a natural disaster, the entire community rises up to send relief assistance and funds to the affected people. But this time the entire community, including Pakistani diplomatic missions, is sleeping,” said Haji Mohammed Saleem from Awaran, which was most affected area.

He added that he and his relatives lost many family members and their properties, including domestic animals in the quake in the Labash and Malar villages of Awaran, which is about 300km from Karachi.

A resident of Malar, Waheed Baloch, said even the electronic media of Pakistan is least bothered about the earthquake. “Of all the over-24 big TV channels, only one was on the ground and covering the pain of our people during grieving condition. Throughout these days since Tuesday, the channels were only running tickers about the quake and were busy highlighting the US visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and of other celebrities,” he said.

According to him all the figures about casualties and property damages released by the media were wrong and far below. “The earthquake was so strong that it was felt even in remote areas of Western Balochistan in Iran and in India and caused an island to surface from the sea-bed in Gwadar. In Awaran alone, we have buried more than 300 people. But the media says only 400 people have died and another 400 injured. We have more 600 fatalities and over 1,000 injuries in addition to a number of villages being totally destroyed and thousands of people living under the open skies,” he added.

Bashir Ahmed Al Balushi, an Omani originally from the Makkorran coast of Balochistan, was also furious about the delay in relief assistance. “Can you believe, only an army convoy with very little supply reached an affected area that too after 24 hours of the deadly quake and only 30 doctors and 300 blankets were despatched for the entire affected areas,” he added.

Abdul Qadir Ismail, another expatriate resident, said he was shocked to see the silence of the Pakistani community in the region over this disaster. “A small incident in other areas of Pakistan sees the Pakistani community in the world rising to the occasion and sending relief assistance without loss of time. But this time I’m shocked that even the international community and charity organisations have not moved yet,” he said.

He said one of his relatives in Labash, Awaran, Haji Yaqoub lost all his 10 family members, and his properties were also destroyed. “We don’t expect any support from the government of any other organisation. We here in the Gulf will send money to our people to help rebuild their houses and treat the injured. We will have our own relief fund formed by the Baloch community living here and elsewhere in the world as well as in Balochistan,” he added. —

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