2005 Pakistan Earthquake

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On 8th October, 2005, a massive earthquake of magnitude 7.6 had hit the  Pakistan-administered areas of Kashmir at 08:50:39 Pakistan Standard Time. Even though the epicenter was near the city of Muzaffarabad, it had also affected Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir. The earthquake had also affected countries in the surrounding region with tremors being felt in Afghanistan, Tajikistan and the Chinese Xinjiang province. The massive destruction caused by the earthquake was attributed to the severe up-thrust and the catastrophe  became the deadliest earthquake to hit Asia, since the 1935 Quetta earthquake.

Most of the devastation had happened in northern Pakistan and PoK (Pakistan occupied Kashmir). In Kashmir, the three main districts were badly affected and Muzaffarabad, the state capital of Pakistan administered Kashmir, was the hardest hit in terms of casualties and destruction. Hospitals, schools, and rescue services including police and armed forces were completely paralyzed. There was virtually no infrastructure, and communication was badly affected. More than 70% of all casualties were estimated to have occurred in Muzaffarabad.

According to the Pakistani government’s official records, 87,350 people were killed in the disaster, 1,38,000 were injured and over 3.5 million were left homeless.  The govt. figures said that 19,000 children had died in the earthquake, most of them caught inside collapsing school buildings.

In response to the devastating catastrophe, Amma had sent two of her disciples Bri. Rasamrita Chaitanya and Br. Abhayamrita Chaitanya to the region along with volunteers from the Delhi Ashram to provide food, relief materials, medical supplies and emotional support. Once they reached the affected area, the MAM volunteers had noticed a lot of children orphaned by the disaster. In order to cheer them up and distract their minds away from their recent traumatic experience, Bri. Rasamrita and the volunteers organized games, painting contests and other cultural programs in the refugee camps.

In addition, Br. Abhayamrita Chaitanya had met with government officials of Kashmir during the relief operations and expressed the Ashram’s desire to adopt two or three villages.

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