S. Asia earthquake: Your e-mails
YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
(CNN) -- CNN is appealing for stories from people who witnessed or have been affected by the earthquake in South Asia. The following are edited selections of your replies.
I live in Karachi and today I witnessed an amazing scene of volunteers -- mainly students of medical & engineering colleges, universities, and even kids from schools -- wandering around the city collecting donations of much needed relief goods. The overwhelming response from people from all walks of life is amazing. There are huge piles of donated goods on almost every corner of big roads. This is of course a sign of great nation. I [am] proud to be a Pakistani.
I am very devastated by this disaster. I have a fiancÚ living in London who lost his entire village in northern Pakistan. He is alone, away from his home now, and now [has] lost his native home. I do not have much information on his relatives. I believe most are not living. I am praying for him and his family and friends. I have no way of being with him now, and wish and hope every day that I could be there.
My relatives are living in Rawalpindi. Thank God all of them are fine but still shocked. Every time I watch the news of Kashmir I start weeping and just think, "How I can help those people?" I request all Pakistanis abroad, please help our Homeland in this difficult time. And especially in the holy month of Ramadan, remember all the victims in your prayers.
This is the worst disaster that we could have ever faced. Even our worst nightmares pale when faced with the magnitude of this tragedy. Karachi has just experienced tremors of magnitude 4.0. We're all scared. Karachi and Lahore are running out of medicine, the bad weather is affecting the delivery of supplies, and the depression in the air is tangible. Dear God, have mercy.
As a person of Azad Kashmiri descent, [for me] the earthquake which struck large swaths of Azad Kashmir could not have been more closer to home, despite ... being 3,500 miles away here in the UK. Here in Bradford everyone is digging deep and giving whatever they can. However, I fear that whatever is given will not be enough. Having seen the pictures of the indiscriminate destruction and utter devastation across Azad Kashmir -- and in particular the hungry and weary survivors in Muzaffarabad -- [I have] no words to describe my feelings. The tears continue to flow, but my spirit and the spirit of all humanitarians will lead us all to galvanize and help in the best way we can.
As an Indian, my heart goes out to all our brothers and sisters in Pakistan that are bearing the brunt of this disaster. It is heartening to see the soldiers, politicians, and people working together to help each other in this region. After the Indian Ocean tsunami I set up a free Web site (http://www.alertearth.org) to monitor disaster occurrences (earthquakes, tsunamis, storms, etc.) and alert people via e-mail. For example, you can sign up to receive alerts on earthquakes of magnitude greater than 7 in India, and so on. The site also had basic discussions forums for reporting and looking for missing people in disaster zones.
Our relative, a teacher in Muzaffarabad, who went missing as she left to teach, has been found dead. Her fountain-pen tightly clutched in her hand. One of the 40,000 estimated people dead. This capital of Pakistan Kashmir of 0.2 million is no more a city of the living. It is almost a graveyard now. Bodies can be seen everywhere, on roads, streets and under the debris of devastated buildings.
Numb is the only way to describe the feelings of the residents of Islamabad. The rescue efforts from the collapse of the apartment complex brings a daily story of yet another death. When schools reopen, classmates and teachers will be missing. Kashmiri residents of Islamabad have had entire families wiped out from the face of the Earth. The village of Balakot is yet another story. The misery and suffering of the poor is unimaginable. This has to be the lowest time in our lifetime.
I grew up in Muzaffarabad. It's very hard to see the schools and streets where I lived for 22 years totally demolished. With every phone call, I hear the terrible death news of my neighbors, classfellows and teachers.
I need help from Islamabad. One of our good friends, Mr. Alberto Bonanni, is still missing in Islamabad and we have no news of him. His family in Italy is very upset. Please send any information of Mr. Bonanni to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In two days we've had more then 150 tremors. Needless to say, everyone is shocked at the destruction and paralyzed with fear, suffering from headaches and dizziness all the time. The destruction is devastating. Entire generations in the north have been wiped out. Regardless of criticism of the government, I can see around me how people are making a difference. The government is doing the best they can.
Pakistan is bleeding. People are in a state of shock and disbelief. From Karachi to Khyber, people are donating food, clothing and money in millions. Still they want to give more. In Karachi so many people want to go and help personally which they are doing. In fact, some well to do people are thinking of purchasing heavy equipments which is the need of the hour.
I have been speaking to my family who are camping outside in the local grounds. The houses that remain standing have very big cracks in them, and there is a fear they may also collapse. They have had no assistance from any government officials and there is growing desperation amongst them.
Most of my family live in Azad Kashmir, in the Abbaspur region, which has been hit badly by the earthquake. My parents and brother-in-law have been there since 14 September. We were not able to contact our parents until yesterday, when we got the news that they are alive, but 300-400 people have died in the region. Our villages, Khalidraman and Namjer, have been greatly devastated by the quake. People's houses have broken down and people are living out in the open space without any tents or any kind of shelter at all. The relief camps or any kind of aid has not yet reached our area, which is very remote. I am extremely worried and plead for aid to be sent to the rural areas of Azad Kashmir, such as Khalidraman, Namjer, Abbaspur, Kot and Chotyal.
What has been observed in Karachi at the PAF Museum [relief camp] over the last couple of days has been astonishing. People have come in large numbers to join the relief efforts being undertaken by the armed forces. Men, women, children, even the handicapped, all working side by side, irrespective of which faith they belong to. Entire families have left their homes in Karachi and have spent the last couple of days at the relief camp. Women were seen providing home-cooked meals to all the helpers.
My whole house jolted with the quake. That sound, that jerk -- I'll never forget it. Thousands of my countrymen have lost their lives and hundreds of thousands are homeless. I appeal to the world to help Pakistan in this hour of need in the same way as Pakistan helped in the war [on] terror.
We have been collecting relief supplies for the affected people for three days. We have collected a lot of stuff but the problem is the transportation problem. Trucks and trawlers are not ready to take the goods to the affected area or they are charging so much -- almost 50 to 80 times the cost of transportation -- but we are not concerned about money. What we are concerned about is the transportation, but there is no facility available.
More shocking than the quake was the prompt and pacifying response that the world came up with, especially America -- the least expected/trusted fellow among the real Muslim world. We thank you world. We thank you, Americans, for your concern and helping hand.
I just want to say my sympathy goes out to every Pakistani that has been shocked by this recent tragedy. My family were lucky to survive, but my heart bleeds for Pakistan; generations of families have been lost, people's homes gone ... people's businesses have been ruined. How can any Pakistani now sleep or rest in peace when [his or her] brothers and sisters are screaming for help?
I am one of the many people who have witnessed the quake and the damage that it has brought with it. I am thankful for all the help that is being offered by the international community and the local community, but my only concern is that all the foreign aid in form of cash is not consumed by our high government officials; it should be spent on the people in every manner.
I, along my family, live in Abbottabad. Saturday morning it was also struck by the quake. It was a horrifying experience. There have been reports of damage in other parts of the city, but thanks to Allah almighty we are all fine. For two days we slept outside. Now we are trying to help the people of Muzaffarabad by sending them medicines, etc. I request everyone to help as they can.
When the earthquake hit, I was in bed, but the earthquake was so hard that I went outside and saw my car jumping on the ground. And now I see the sufferings of people -- it is devastating. I want to go there and help them all. Me and my friends have set up a relief camp in our school, and every student is willing to help. We shall spend two days collecting the money and food items and anything at all. Then we plan to take those funds ourselves to the victims and we shall help them in any way. They need blood, they need food, they need shelter. We cannot sit here and watch them suffering.
I was asleep when the quake hit. The shock woke me up with a start. Though the quake lasted barely two minutes, it seemed like two hours. Nothing had happened at our house, but our neighbor's house was badly damaged. The aftershocks were more frightening than the major quake; they took place every two hours or so after the quake for two days.
This is now known to be the most powerful earthquake ever to hit Pakistan in the last 10 decades, resulting in very fatal, catastrophic perils. At about 8:52 while I was sleeping, all of a sudden I woke up as I had felt something was jolting my bed gravely. Having actualized the situation around (that it was a serious earthquake), in the blink of an eye I rushed outside to the park in front of my house with the thought in mind that this morning may be the last one for me. A torrent of people had reached the park already. There were screams and wails all in the atmosphere as far as the ear could hear, "Get out of the houses, run for your life, run for your life!"
It's one of the biggest disasters in our country and we are quite unfortunate with this critical situation for missing good equipment in remote areas of Pakistan's northern region where many family members are crying because they can't remove heavy pieces of mountains and buildings and their parents, sons, daughters and other relatives are screaming from inside for help. I'd request the whole world to please send special equipment which can be loaded in helicopters to help our beloved ones.
The catastrophe in South Asia has triggered an immense humanitarian response from within. Pakistani citizens who have survived the quake have mobilized themselves for the cause. Despite the general fear that has set in, people in the cities are working day and night to organize relief for the affected. Neighborhoods have risen to the occasion to channel monetary and material help for those in dire need. Every street corner is home to a relief camp and people are donating vehemently. Scores of volunteers, including qualified doctors, are going to the forlorn areas. There seems to be no dearth of dry food items, clothing and bedding but there is a manifest shortage of choppers, tents, medicines and specialized relief work force.
My cousin Raheela Gul is still missing since the quake early Saturday morning. We believe that she is in the collapsed building block in Islamabad which is being currently searched. Pictures, details of her, etc., are on her Web site: @ www.raheela.com. We desperately need to find her as the clock is against us.
Being an earthquake survivor myself when an earthquake hit the city of Quetta, I can well imagine the pain and suffering the people of my nation are going through. We know that the government is NOT doing enough but we have to understand their limitations since the roads are blocked and the infrastructure has been razed to nothing. ... I am myself the son of an army officer and I know that the army is trying its best in the relief and rescue operations there, since my father left only after five hours with a whole brigade from Lahore. ... I just want to convey the message to my nation that now is not the time to criticize; at this time we all must all unite, encourage what is already being done and donate freely. ... I would also like to thank the international community for the overwhelming response.
Thank you for giving such a detailed coverage to the South Asian earthquake, it has been tragic and such a waste of human lives. As a maxillofacial surgeon, I can tell you there has been lots of facial injuries, although our colleagues in Abbottabad one of the bigger towns near the epicenter are working on injured evacuees, their resources are already stretched. Hence we are gathering teams of surgeons from Karachi to move up north; many similar teams are already there. I can tell you in the days and weeks to come a lot of people will need to undergo surgery, now that the initial phase is over. What we shall then also need will be more specifically surgical and anesthesia supplies, i.e. surgical gloves, suture materials, dressings, and surgical equipment for orthopedic and maxillofacial surgery at medical centers being set up to treat the injured.
I was sleeping when the earthquake started and I felt like my bed is bouncing. I woke up horrified and the windows and doors were roaring. I ran out on the street and I saw the most amazing thing. There were ripples on the road, like in water when you throw a stone in a pond. The road was folding like layers of sea waves. It was unable for me to stand steadily as my both feet were bumping up.
I'm in Lahore, Pakistan, and I'm glued to the screen watching your live updates on the quake. My husband is currently at the site in Islamabad with his best friend whose sister lies buried somewhere under the rubble. They haven't left that spot since Saturday and I call him constantly on his cell phone as soon as your updates on the rescue operations come in. I just called him to say CNN mentioned air pockets under rubble, so each bit of information at this point sparks a little hope of a miracle. Thank you for being there and keeping us updated. Your information is vital to the relatives anxiously waiting there at the scene. It's all they have to cling to at this point.
I am absolutely devastated by this tragedy that has claimed so many innocent lives. My family are from Muzaffarabad, at the epicenter of the quake. None of my family have received any sort of relief aid. Hungry, without shelter, the stench of dead corpses reaching unbearable, they depend on each other for support. Unfortunately many lives of my relatives have been taken, and my heart goes out to all who have suffered this terrible fate.
I am resident of Pakistan living in Karachi. I was so impressed by the Western world how rapidly they responded in this hard time we are facing here in Pakistan. My thanks [to] all the nations who [came to] help us when we needed [it] the most. Thank you and the way CNN is giving coverage; you guys [are] doing the great job.
I have my relatives in Azad Kashmir area. They are in village [of] BanGran, which is in District Bagh. I [spoke] to them very first day after the earthquake; all of their houses are flattened; they are in dire need of tents, food and blankets. No one from the government has reached to them. In this village alone, 60 people have died. I have not heard any media person mentioning about this town and the whole area. I hope through your network someone may hear this and get to them to save the ones that are alive. Thank you.
My brother in law was living in Margalla Towers. He is missing at this moment. We live in Argentina and we haven't news about him. He was in the step 10 when the earthquake happened. We need help to rescue him or to look for him. ... Please, [can] somebody ... help us? Thanks, many thanks.
All my family and friends are fine back in Lahore and I pray to God that everyone affected by this earthquake gets well soon. I think the earthquake in Pakistan has been devastating. The Pakistani government and the international aid provided by various countries have been excellent, and all my prayers are with those who have died and got injured in this horrific disaster. May God help all those in need and grant those who have died to heaven (amen).
We are living in Islamabad with our two children. Coming from Texas, the kids were never exposed to quake like this. They now understand what's going on but very scared of anything that shakes. The conditions in Pakistan are beyond imaginations. What you see on TV is not even a fraction of what is going-on on the ground. Ninety percent of the villages have disappeared. People have lost entire families, [and] 90-95 percent of the people are sleeping (if they can) on the roadsides. People in cities are scared to death to go inside their houses. I have never seen people helping other people like I have seen in this country. Its unbelievable. Being from America, I really believe that the only country that could help is our great country America. This might be a good chance for America also to prove themselves to Pakistanis that we are their friends. Just keep all in your prayers.
I am grateful to the president of United States, Mr. George W. Bush, for his support for Pakistan. I am very glad to see on CNN that American helicopters have just arrived for our help. Now it is the responsibility of all Pakistanis to realize the pain on USA on 9/11. I hope those who oppose USA must realize the USA is not the enemy of Islam but a well-wisher of Muslims, and we all, Muslims, Christians, Jews and other people of the world, are nothing but fellow humans. My sister Haseeba Mir is in Muzaffarabad with her little daughter; [they have been] without food since Saturday's earthquake. I pray for her and [for] everyone of my fellow brothers in trouble.
I have been following the coverage by your channel and it's amazing that how quickly you people have done that. Though I am living in Lahore, but the way it all happened has left me scared. I was sitting in my office when the quake struck and I can imagine what it would have been like for the people in the worst affected areas. The disaster might have struck a big blow to the human lives and property, etc., but it can't strike the will and passion to help shown by the people, not only in Pakistan but from other countries as well. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped my country in this moment of grief, pain and shock.
My husband has family in Balakot. Up to 10 members of the family are found dead. My in-laws have gone from Karachi to find loved ones, but they only found those who have been critically injured and those who have died. Children are not yet found. It is so [distressing] not knowing about the rest of the family. Balakot, which has been hit very badly, needs a lot off help. I would like to thank Britain and America and other countries who have contributed to help. All we could do is pray for everyone.
On Saturday morning around 8:50 my wife cried out for an earthquake, and all I could do was to grab my children and run upstairs from my basement with my eyes closed and no slippers on. The moment I stepped out of my house, I heard a loud roar of windows breaking and dust rising from a distant part while the earth was still quivering. Holding myself together, I rushed alone toward the scene from where the dust was mounting. To the extend of my horror I could not believe that a 10-story residential apartment collapsed in a few seconds. Two of the five towers fell on each other and created a concrete umbrella, thus blocking every single way for a possible evacuation of stranded women and children inside. Many lost their lives on [the] spot, especially those who were standing on the balconies of the towers. [At] one of the towers which is still standing there, I personally saw women and children tied up the bedsheets together and they used them to reach the ground floor from top floor by floor. The screams of help from the [wrecked] towers were horrible, and in the initial hours people were standing helplessly there due to unavailability of proper equipment. The devastating quakes ruined many parts of our country, thus leaving behind thousands dead and [others] helplessly awaiting for immediate help from the authorities. Those living in lavish Margalla apartments in Islamabad are now based in open ground fields with no idea where to go and how to deal with a loss which is unbearable.
The earthquake on Saturday 9:20 a.m. India time forced us to leave our breakfast and run out of our houses. [It] sounded [like] a locomotive; [the] jerks almost made us fall, made my pets, a parrot and a dog impatient, [and] we observed the birds outside stopped chirping and fly away. I could see my spouse shiver with fright [at] the constant [shaking] of the east-west direction. At the same time we were also thinking of the death and destruction being caused by it at its epicenter.
It's the Holy Month of Ramadan, and I slept in the morning after praying. Everything was so normal, but suddenly at 8:45 a.m. in the morning everything was just changed; the earth was shaking. The earthquake had two parts -- the first was too much, and then [the] second part started, which was almost for six minutes. And after that, when it stopped with little time difference, the earth was still shaking. When I went out, there [were] a lot people on the roads already. I went to pick up my nieces from school; [the] kids [were] scared and were crying; all parents just ran to school to pick up their children; everybody was so scared.
This was by far the strongest earthquake I have ever experienced. I have never witnessed a natural disaster where almost everyone in the country has been such directly effected. But the display of grief and the generosity shown by everyone is heartwarming. Everyone, each and every Pakistani, is doing their part to help out in any way they can. It is sad that it takes such an incident to bring people together in this way. Also we are all grateful to the rescue teams sent by many countries to help us in this time of need. Hopefully this will help reduce misconceptions different people have of each other and it will help the people of Pakistan and those of all these countries become closer.
I am writing this e-mail to express my gratitude to CNN International for its 24-hour coverage of earthquake disaster. ... These efforts by CNN are making millions of people worldwide to see firsthand the destruction of the whole areas of Balakot, Gari Habibullah, Muzaffarabad and Rawalakot. My company, Pakistan International Travel & Tours Pvt. Ltd., have arranged hundreds of tours in these areas; the most famous were Naran, Kaghan and Lake Saif-ul-Malook. The town of Balakot was the gate to these areas, and was main town from which supplies were sent to these towns and tourist destinations. I saw on CNN what was left of Balakot; it was horrible; there are not a single house left standing. Here it is necessary to bring to the world notice that these houses are built mainly of stones and clay; roofs are mostly of tin sheets and wood; so they had no chance of survival from the earthquake of this magnitude. One of our business partners, Neelam View Hotel [in] Muzaffarabad, is totally collapsed; there were more then 50 staff members working when the earthquake hit the area. What I have heard from my contact in Muzaffarabad that the people were only able to retrieve the body of one of the employee. My request to all people of the world is donate generously at this hour of need of Pakistan.
The tragedy that has been faced by the people of Pakistan is so huge in magnitude that it will take months to fully understand the nature of devastation. I remember getting ready to go to the hospital and suddenly being jolted around as everything was swinging. Believe me for a second I thought I was in some kind of roller coaster. Only then the wall clock fell down and its front mirror broke and it was at that moment that the reality dawned at me. Almost unknowingly and involuntarily, I ran towards my bedroom shouting to my parents and my pregnant wife to leave the house. In the end I had to almost carry my pregnant wife in my arms to the safety of our lawn as she wasn't able to run fast enough on her own. The aftershocks that we were experiencing were making it more tough. How could something like this happen? Ironically I spent the last evening watching a program about science advancements, and in those moments while I was trying to reassure myself among others, I was thinking how helpless people can be and how tiny we are when compared with the gigantic events that can happen. The relief work and live coverage on channels like CNN not only provided great help to people to remain updated, but also helped them to realize the magnitude of this disaster. Although the physical damage and devastation is huge, the psychological impact is going to be no less. There is fear in the eyes of people: fear of the unknown, fear of the unseen and above all else fear of the unpredictable. In the end I do hope that Pakistan and India both work together in this time of crisis. There shouldn't be any discrimination while providing relief, because the earthquake definitely didn't make any discriminations, nor did it have any regard for disputed borders.
Joseph Wakfi was in Muzaffarabad in Nylon Hotel one day before the earthquake. We tried to reach him with many ways after the earthquake but we couldn't. We learned that Nylon Hotel totally collapsed, but we are not sure if he was inside or not. He is 65 years old. His nationality is Lebanon. He was there because of business issues. He has a marble manufacturing place in the Kashmir mountains. I [would] appreciate if you contact with us if you have some news about him.
My name is Shaheen. I know everyone is helping and doing there best in Pakistan, but I have my whole family in Muzaffarabad, in one of the towns called Bella Noor Shah. We have got through to them via telephone today. They are all very traumatized and upset [and] still in shock; they haven't eaten anything for the past three days; they have no blankets no medicine, nothing at all; all they see they [are] helicopters flying around looking for dead bodies. By the time they find people under the broken houses and buildings, the ones that are trying to survive will be dead. Please, please get some help to this place in Bella Noor Shah, Muzaffarabad; my grandma, my grandad, all my cousins, brother and sisters, my uncle, my auntie, everyone has survived; they are sleeping on the main road with no blankets; they are desperate for help. Please get someone out there. Thank you for taking time to read this e-mail.
I am a resident of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and am in Islamabad visiting my parents. The morning of [October] 8th is something I will never forget in my life. Doomsday had fallen. One could see the terror in people's eyes, and the strong aftershock tremors did not help the rescue efforts either. This makes one think that there are no borders when it comes to pain and suffering. May it be people affected by the tsunami, the hurricanes in the U.S. or this tragedy in the Indian subcontinent. I would like to thank the international community for providing assistance, and urge world leader to help as much as they can. I have witnessed the suffering of the people firsthand and wish that this never happens to anyone ever.
I am Pakistani but [have] lived in Germany for almost 20 years. My sister called us in the morning to let us know about what happened. Since then I've been glued to the TV, unable to move away. The pictures are horrible and I feel for my fellow country people. We still haven't heard anything from our relatives. I wish there was so much more I could do. I'm sending all my good thoughts and prayers to the people suffering. And a huge thanks to all the helpers. I hope my mother country, Pakistan, will get through this crisis and rise again.
The ground beneath our feet shook. An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 on the Richter scale hit Kashmir -- my home -- and Pakistan. It took little under a minute to undo what was carefully assembled over endless years of hard work. Homes came crumbling down, trees shook, turnpikes were ripped open as if sliced by a some piked object. The sheer imagery of people, blood still dripping, being carried away, of women wailing, of the sick shivering in the cold, leaves me numb. It looks a slice of the Armageddon, but this pain is only too real to be passed over.
I was there in Islamabad at Margalla Hotel to sit an [for] exam when the earthquake struck. ... In these 18 years of my life this is the worst I have ever seen. ... The moment I felt that it was an earthquake, I grabbed the hand of one of my friends and ran towards the exit. ... I all most freaked out because I had never felt an earthquake as strong as this one. The chandelier in the reception [area] of the hotel was moving like a swing and it looked as if it was going to fall on my head. ... The moment I reached out of the building, I could not stand.
I lost my brother and his family in earthquake in the Margalla tower in Islamabad. Appreciate your help. My brother's name is Firas Al-Hayali and he lives in the collapsed building in Islamabad.
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