THE October 8 earthquake of 2005 was a tragedy of immense proportions to say the least. The quake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale caused widespread destruction in Azad Kashmir, and surrounding areas, including parts of NWFP, killing 74,500 people, while leaving millions homeless. Such was its intensity that most of the towns and villages around Muzaffarabad, the epicentre, were completely wiped out. According to experts in terms of the number of people affected, the calamity was worse than the tsunami of December 2004. However, three years down the line, the area still presents a picture of disaster. Different bodies that were set up, like the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority and others, have not succeeded in completely pulling the region out of chaos. A large number of people continue to live in makeshift camps, facing harsh weather conditions. However the international community, should be commended for its all-out support. Initially, countries like China, Turkey, US, Saudi Arabia helped us greatly in rescue efforts. The real worry, however, is that the locals are finding it hard to make both ends meet because of limited business opportunities. Likewise, the plan to raise new infrastructure like schools has not been fully implemented. Another big concern is that the Himalayan region lies on a dangerous fault line that extends all the way to Karachi into the Indian Ocean. Because the area marks a collisions zone squashed up between the Eurasian plate, that is moving south, and the Australian-Indian plate, drifting north, and had witnessed two major collisions before, more quakes cannot be ruled out. However, some knowledge has been gained to predict earthquakes and avert large-scale devastation. It is a pity that the authorities paid no attention to some of the scientists who had long been warning of earthquakes hitting Pakistan's northern region. Understandably, it is hard to relocate entire cities but it is relatively easy to shift vulnerable chunks of population like those living on mountain summits and edges. Likewise, Karachi, as it lies on the fault and is honeycombed with high-rise buildings, is vulnerable to a jolt even of a small magnitude. How the country managed the whole October 8 calamity, indicates that we lack a well-directed disaster management planning. There was for instance no machinery to clear the rubble and save those buried underneath the collapsed structures. The government needs to put its act together and pace up the reconstruction work. Bureaucratic delay and government's noncommittal attitude should now be a thing of past.