ISLAMABAD, Oct 7 (APP):15th anniversary of history’s worst destructive earthquake, measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale will be observed in the country especially in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and northeastern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Thursday to pay tribute to the martyrs of calamity.
At 8:52 am on October 8, 2005, the quake with its epicenter located 19 km northeast of Muzaffarabad, struck the country causing widespread human and material losses in Hazara division and Azad Jammu & Kashmir.
Fifteen years have passed to the deadly earthquake but the majority of the Pakistanis especially the quake victims still feel pain.
The day will dawn with special prayers in mosques for the martyrs and prosperity of the country.
Special ceremonies including awareness walks, seminars and symposiums, have been planned in various parts of the country to pay homage to the victims and create awareness among the people about safety measures during calamities.
Radio stations and TV channels would broadcast special programmes to mark the day. Main prayer ceremony would be observed at university ground Muzaffarabad on Thursday morning.
AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider will lay floral wreath at martyrs’ memorial.
A large number of people including family members, relatives and friends would visit the graveyards in the quake-hit areas.
The tremor caused massive destruction putting it higher than the massive scale of destruction of the Quetta earthquake in 1935.
In Islamabad, over 70 people were killed and 100 others injured in the temblor that brought down Margalla Towers in a matter of seconds because of design faults than the might of the quake.
Approximately 138,000 people were injured and over 3.5 million rendered homeless. According to official figures, 19,000 children had died in the earthquake, most of them in widespread collapses of school buildings. The earthquake affected more than 500,000 families.
In addition, approximately 250,000 farm animals died due to collapse of stone barns, and more than 500,000 large animals required immediate shelter from the harsh winter.
It is estimated that more than 780,000 buildings were either destroyed or damaged beyond repair, and many more were rendered unusable for extended periods of time.
Out of these, approximately 17,000 school buildings and most major hospitals close to the epicenter were destroyed or severely damaged.
Lifelines were adversely affected, especially the numerous vital roads and highways that were closed by landslides and bridge failures.
Several areas remained cut off via land routes even three months after the main event. Power, water supply, and telecommunication services were down for varying lengths of time, although in most areas services were restored within a few weeks.