Survival kit for the earthquakes

Parvez Jamil

By Parvez Jamil

Collosal is the loss of the Kashmir earthquake of October 8, 2005: Approximately 38,000 were injured and over 3.5 million rendered homeless. An estimated 19,000 children died in the earthquake, most of them in widespread collapses of school buildings. The earthquake affected more than 500,000 families.


Earthquakes pose a potential threat to human life in Pakistan. The random list of earthquakes is one horrendous tragedy after another: 2005 Kashmir, 2008 Ziarat, 1935 Quetta, 1945 Balochistan, 1974 Hunza, so on and so forth. As such, this region is perilously prone to earthquakes of high magnitude even over 4.5 on the richter scale.


Shaking can make light fixtures fall, large items move across the floor, bookcases and television sets topple over. Be careful with things that could fall or move. Find space, identify hazards and secure moveable items. Plan to be safe by creating a disaster plan and decide how to communicate effectively in an emergency situation.


Secure valuables of cash, kind and documents for a handy passage. Organize disaster supplies in convenient locations. Prepare First Aid Kit, Fire Extinguishers. Avoid matches, lighters, stoves, electrical equipment and appliances to check sparking that could ignite leaking gas causing an explosion and fire.


Preventive measures to face the earthquakes are important. But what is vital is the seriousness of purpose in this regard. That means how serious are the trend-setters, elite, educators and media on awareness of trembols.


How strange and destructive are such fashionable trends and false-prestige linked to GLASS windows, doors, roofs and walls of the bungalows and offices of the rich and forward-looking upper strata.


An earthquake or blast can wreck fashionable glass interior of nearby homes and offices as seen of the Islamabad 2005 earthquake vicinity and earlier of the Islamabad Egyptian Embassy blast in the Diplomatic Enclave. This needs awareness both by trend-setters and the public at large.


Down the tragic memory lane one remembers earthquake of 2005 when media was highlighting figures of loss of life and property alright. But the public also needed from media information on the quake safety and security measures by doctors, psychologists, architects, town planners and disaster management experts.


Media, the big ones, Urdu, English others, without naming please, honestly, seemed more concerned about marketing, selling and the rating game by carrying one scoop or sensational story after another rather than educating or informing the common man on preventive management of this tragic catastrophy.


Stay prepared for emergency. Say no to glass interiors. Let old and weak be first cared. Keep valuables handy. Have water, snacks and medis ready. Plug off gas and electricity. Stay away from falling objects. Be under table or staircases covered by cushions and pillows. Though not said each keep a mobile phone handy. While outside try and reach open space. Do not move until tremors stop. Be aware of; prepare for after shocks.


Given the fact that public memory mostly, including that of the intelligentsia, is short, it becomes indispensable to keep abreast by refresher programs through social, print and electronic media of the need to stay alert and alive to the all-time earthquake preventive management as well as learning from past loopholes or mistakes.#


Remember devastating temblors that struck Pakistan Oct.8, 2005


The writer, with a senior faculty media management and public affairs background, contributes to media articles on national and international affairs.

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