Today, the nation of Pakistan came face to face with both its most shocking day in history as well as one of its biggest challenges yet. Earlier this morning around 9 am, the northern regions were violently shook by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake. Thousands were killed across the continent from either mudslides or building collapse, and the death toll which is expected to rise significantly, already stands at 20,000.
Here in Islamabad, as the intensity steadily climbed I sat at my desk listening to the rattling of windows and screams of frightened building residents. The few tremors we had felt before in our time here didn’t even begin to compare to this. Finally becoming strong enough to rock our entire building back and forth, the quake continued for about one whole minute, after which it diminished down to a low rumble, only to climb back up to the full strength it had previously demonstrated. For a few seconds the rocking seemed relentless, but with previous tremors always dying out within a few seconds I failed to really react to the situation, and thought almost nothing of it. My roomates came running from their room, and having seen the movie Black Hawk Dawn only two nights before, yelled out to me, “No man gets left behind!” Regardless, I stayed in my room, as did my brother. Our apartment building was almost fully evacuated by 9:20am, leaving behind only myself, my servant, a few guards, and one or two other random apartment tennants. Moments later the first of 25 aftershocks Viagra buy struck, but with significantly less power.
At the time of 9:15am the first news of the collapse of Margala Tower came to us by a friend residing in an apartment tower on the opposite side (Al-Mustafa Towers, our previous home). I immediately tried to find out about what relief effort, if any, had been set in motion to rescue those in the 75 fallen apartments. Pakistan had never before in this day and age had to deal with this kind of a problem. I sent my servant to investigate and came he back by 10:00am with the report that there were hundreds of uniformed officials arriving on the scene. At this time we decided that our personal efforts to help would most likely get in the way, and decided to stay back to avoid cluttering the scene.
Three hours passed, in which anywhere from 5 to 7 of the 25 aftershocks were felt. At this time there was an announcement made via radio/television that medical personel were in short supply at the collapse of the tower and their help for possible survivors would be greatly appreciated. My brother and I, joined with two of our friends, wasted no time in reaching the scene where we were rushed to the absolute center of the rubble. The destruction was exactly as it had appeared in photos published online, but more bleak once there in person. What had been a ten story tower was now compressed to a size of about 50 feet in height. An immediate course of action to scour the debris seemed nonexistant, and we were told to stay and wait until somebody was found. Seeing no distinction between the uniformed officers, I took it upon myself to find out who was in charge by asking a man who seemed to be telling others what to do. His answer: a slow and confused shrug of the shoulders. No one was responsible, and it was now 5 hours later.
As we took a better look around we saw there had been hundreds of military personel dispatched to keep the masses back, and away from the rubble, but they themselves lacked the discipline to focus on their job. Minutes would pass and the crowds of spectators who had just been told to keep their distance would be found standing shoulder to shoulder with their military counterparts, all staring up together at the debris. It was a pathetic display on behalf of the Pakistani Army which I cannot even begin to emphasize.
Soon into the first hour of our arrival, a body was pulled from the wreckage. Military personel and civilians as if released from a zoo of wild animals ran to form a bustling circle around it. As mush as I would like to believe that they were there to help, they were all there just to get a good look at what condition the body was in. They would not stop yelling, “Is she alive?? Is she dead?? Is it a dead body??” The illiterate, uneducated, uncultured, illmanered village people of the city literally shoved each other out of the way to get a better view, while we, the medical personel who could possibly help a waning life, found it impossible to gain access. Each more interested then the next to get a glance at a corpse, the local, uncultured masses of villagers (uniformed or not) reacted like complete fools.
Hours later, the disorganized and haphazard excuse of a relief effort was nothing more than trivial. With two weak and slow-to-arrive cranes working to clear the debris, it seemed that somehow they had gained their footing in how to go about the problem. This view was easily shatterd seconds later as I watched a random person no older than 25 years old scale the rubble from the opposite side in a t-shirt and jeans and order the cranes to stop working, so that he might go into the wreckage once more. The cranes stopped, and he proceeded. Why the military ordered crane-work was stopped at the request of a civilian is beyond me, and apparently beyond the military as well. Again, I’d like to point out the incompetence of the pathetic relief effort.
Later still, as another aftershock hit, what was already a circus of pandemonium, turned into a complete chaotic riot. At the onset of the first aftershock, the local people had begun a full-fledged stampede, with nothing short of shoving and trampling each other in their desparate efforts to get away from the rubble, afraid that the nearby towers would also collapse. The aftershocks, which were easily similar to the slight tremors usually felt here, seemed to be causing more panic than the original quake. As they lept from ledges and stepped on their fallen friends, the stampede continued seconds after the aftershock had even ended. Later, this pattern would repeat itself many times.
Finally making contact with additional medical teams who had arrived, make-shift relief tents were set up to provide aid for the rescue workers who would spend hours in the debris. Thousands of water bottles were bought, and food stores were ready to feed almost the entire city. However, no such aid would be provided in presence of the neanderthal military. Seeing the food and water, they began to feast, as if they had done any real work, or as if they had even lifted one ounce of rubble. All they knew how to do was ask, “Is she dead? Is it a dead body?” You pathetic and ignorant people. Damn you for your incompetence and lack of discipline.
At this point, our reasons for being there were beyond compromised, and we saw no further point in standing around as part of an ignorant populace who would swarm at the first sign of a body every two hours. As we left, assembly lines were being formed to remove rubble which could easily be handled. Walking back to our car, we saw more people were cheerfully on their way along with their kids, simply to watch what was going on, so they could have something to do, and so each could tell a better story accounting the events than the village idiot next to them. Well done my friends. Furthermore, congratulations to the government, for issuing your wonderful crowd-control force, and failing to send even one engineer/architect/construction team.
When I got home I turned the news on to hear lies of how the “best doctors and engineering specialists” were hard at work on location. As the works of all government authorities are to mar the truth while maintaining their image to their allies and enemies, ours was not to be left out. A special thank you to the Pakistani government. You are in your entirety, worthless.
We ask you to include the thousands of people lost in your prayers, as well as their families. May Allah (s.w.t.) help them in their time of need, and be merciful to those who are no longer with us. Amen.
Source: Home Away Blog