SAID ALAM KHAN
PESHAWAR - The deadly earthquake has reportedly left 260 people dead and 1,800 injured while destroyed some 2,097 houses in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
According to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), around 218 people have died and 1,549 injured so far in the powerful earthquake that played havoc with many districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata. In addition, dozens of buildings collapsed in various areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The pdma said 52 people died in Shangla, 29 in Chitral, 29 in Swat, 30 in Dir Lower, 25 in Dir Upper, 21 in Torghar, 11 in Kohistan Upper, eight in Buner, three in Charsadda, six in Peshawar, four in Mardan, three in Nowshera, four in Swabi, 12 in Malakand, one in Kohistan Lower, five in Mansehra and one in Hangu.
However, unofficial figures said the death toll has exceeded 260 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata. The pdma added total 1,456 people were injured. As per the figures, 80 were injured in Shangla, 200 in Chitral, 161 in Swat, 284 in Lower Dir, 147 in Upper Dir, 18 in Torghar, 11 in Kohistan Upper, 95 in Buner, one in Charsadda, 165 in Peshawar, 101 in Mardan, 14 in Nowshera, 19 in Swabi, 78 in Malakand and one each in Kohistan Lower, Manshera and Hangu.
Moreover, total 2,097 houses were damaged when the 8.1-magnitude quake struck major cities of Pakistan, including northern areas, on Monday. Similarly, seven deaths were reported each from Gilgit, Chilas and Azad Kashmir and one each from Rawalpindi, Chakwal, Gujranawala, DG Khan and Kasur.
Apart from this, at least 25 people were reported to have died in Bajaur Agency, five in Muhmand Agency and two in Khyber Agency. The northern parts, particularly Malakand Division of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, have badly been affected by the horrible tremors.
The pdma official said 417 houses were damaged in Shangla, 312 in Upper Dir, 286 in Lower Dir, 357 in Malakand, 70 in Torghar and five in Tank. They said all the deputy commissioners of the affected districts have been asked to utilise relief funds for the assistance and rehabilitation of the earthquake victims and provide maximum relief to them.
Moreover, all the revenue staff has been directed to send immediate reports on the loss of lives and damage to properties to their respective district administrations and district control rooms.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) said 31 people were in the tribal areas – 26 in Bajaur, four in Mohmand and one in Khyber Agency. The political administration has accelerated relief and rehabilitation operation in the affected agencies while the injured with critical wounds have been shifted to Peshawar hospitals for treatment.
The FDMA spokesman said besides food items, a consignment of non-food items, including blankets and tents, were being despatched to the affected tribal areas.
The severe quake damaged the communication lines. Pakistan Army helicopters have begun evacuating victims. The military has also sent medical teams, tents and rations to the affected areas.
Monday’s quake brought back traumatic memories of the 7.6 magnitude quake in October 2005 that killed more than 75,000 and displaced 3.5 million people.
The military and civilian authorities have despatched several helicopters to the affected areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit and Azad Kashmir to assess the damage and run rescue operations.
He said the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) and Karakoram Highway have cleared 27 of 45 landslides across Gilgit. “C-130 left for Chitral with seven tons of ration, 2,500 ready meals, additional medical teams, 1,000 tents and blankets.
In Peshawar, the earthquake victims faced unwanted delay in their treatment at the accident and emergency department of Lady Reading Hospital owing to the rush of people and visits by VIPs and media persons.
Lady Reading Hospital, the province’s biggest health facility, received a large number of wounded people after the earthquake. It has become a common feature now that after natural calamities and bomb blasts, ministers and general public swarm hospitals, which only adds to the trouble of the patients who require prompt treatment for their rapid recovery.
The LRH received 162 injured people soon after the tremor. The injured could have easily been handled by the highly-trained staff, but people are in the habit of visiting hospitals to make the task hard. A senior doctor said patients with minor wounds faced problems as it became difficult for doctors, nurses and paramedics to reach the accident and emergency department which was jam-packed with people.
The doctor said the people even entered the operation theatre without caring for sterilization process. Another doctor, on condition of anonymity, said they wanted the chief minister, ministers and politicians to stay away as the administration officials of the hospital who are supposed to supervise work of the staff revert to give protocols to VIPs.
Meanwhile, announcing a compensation of Rs 300,000 each for the families of the quake victims, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mushtaq Ghani said each district was affected by the natural calamity.
“We have despatched 2000 tents, 1,000 blankets and 2,000 floor mats to the flood-hit people of Chitral and other affected areas,” Ghani said, while talking to media persons. The information minister said relief and rescue operation was under way in the affected districts.