Earthquake 2005: Balakot

Published: October 8, 2011
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Forty kilometers away from Muzaffarabad is Balakot, the town which was completely wiped out as it lay on the fault line of the quake.

Forty kilometers away from Muzaffarabad is Balakot, the town which was completely wiped out as it lay on the fault line of the quake.

Forty kilometers away from Muzaffarabad is Balakot, the town which was completely wiped out as it lay on the fault line of the quake.

Residents here continue to live in shelter homes, six years later.

Living in a limbo

My husband died in the quake while he was sleeping, right next to me. Even now, I fear for our lives. I wake up screaming some nights, thinking the earthquake has struck again.

Parveen Bibi, a mother of two school-going sons, lives in Balakot and is on medication for depression and sleep disorder. She wishes to move out and says they were told by the government that families living on the slopes will be shifted to Bakrial City, which was the new proposed town for Balakot residents announced by former president Musha

With a ban on concrete structures in most areas of Balakot, thousands of families wait in a perpetual limbo. I report every year regarding their plight but the government seems to have used earthquake funds in creating an image, rather than actual ground work.

Khurshid Zaman, a young local journalist from the area.

I want to be a teacher when I grow up.

Ainul Haya, 8, lost her leg from below the knee in the earthquake. She is enrolled in second grade at a private primary school in Balakot, headed by her mother Aasia, while her father is a principal at another school. Haya’s twoweek- old brother also died in the quake while she was treated for over a year and half at a hospital in Abbottabad. The family, which has two more children now, is planning to move out, since the government has disallowed construction of concrete structures in Balakot.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 8th, 2011.

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