2005 Earthquake India/Kashmir/Pakistan

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FIRST-PERSON: Quake damage like ‘watching CNN from van’

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One of the survivors
This Pakistani student was among the survivors at a girls’ school leveled by the Oct. 8 earthquake. Along with two teachers, approximately 200 girls, or one-fourth of the students, lost their lives.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (BP)--It is hard to put into words all that I saw and experienced on this trip, one of the most significant trips I have taken. We saw so much devastation -– whole towns reduced to rubble.
      Most people told us that if you were outside, you survived, but if you were inside a building, you died. It was hard to process it all. Some days it felt like I was watching CNN from the van window.
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In a tent city
A Pakistani mother shelters her children in one of the tent cities that have sprung up since the Oct. 8 earthquake. Many traveled to the camps – some now housing as many as 3,000 people -- barefoot through mountainous terrain, without anything except the clothes on their back.

      We met many people in great need.
      They peeked out of their tents, intensely curious yet cautious. “Who are these foreigners and why are they here?”
      We went to a girls’ school located in one of the hardest-hit areas of the Oct. 8 earthquake in South Asia. The school had collapsed, killing more than 200 of their classmates. Now they were meeting in tents next to their crushed building. We came to help them, to listen to them, to encourage them, to love them in Jesus’ name.

In Pakistani winter, Baptists bring hope to quake survivors

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Teen in Pakistan
‘I’ve seen what state Pakistan is in, and I know the devastation; but I also know that God is there, working and active,” says 16-year-old Darren Pogue, a Southern Baptist volunteer who responded to medical needs in Pakistan following the Oct. 8 earthquake.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (BP)--Before Oct. 8, Hadia* had a husband to care for her and a home to shelter her six children. Then, in those few moments that the earth shook, her life changed drastically. Hadia became both widowed and homeless.
      As winter weather threatened to compound her tragedy, Hadia also was losing hope -– until Southern Baptists built her a temporary home, what they call a model home.
      “Over the past two months, a wonderful partnership between the compassionate giving of Southern Baptists in the U.S. and the sacrificial service of International Mission Board personnel on the ground have resulted in ministry to thousands of displaced Pakistanis and Indians,” said David Garrison, the IMB’s regional leader for South Asia.

Volunteers call for help in aiding S. Asia’s earthquake survivors

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (BP)--The earthquake that rocked South Asia Oct. 8 has created a unique opportunity for sharing the Gospel, and more followers of Jesus need to go and help, a volunteer in the region noted.

In Pakistan’s earthquake zone, missionary kid shares his journal

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (BP)--Darren Pogue* is the 16-year-old son of Southern Baptist International Mission Board missionaries serving in South Asia. In November, Darren spent his fall break ministering among earthquake survivors in Pakistan. These are entries from his personal journal:

Threat of disease grows in Indian-administered Kashmir region

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Cooking nevertheless
A mother who survived the Oct. 8 earthquake with her son prepares food in a makeshift tent in a village in Indian-administered Kashmir. Health workers have warned that contaminated water may lead to an outbreak of various diseases. Photo by Joshua Newton
BATTAGRAM, Kashmir (BP)--The people of Indian-administered Kashmir who survived the devastating earthquake Oct. 8 face a new foe: illness initiated by impending winter and poor water, food and shelter conditions.
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Nizakat Fatima, a 40-year-old earthquake survivor, recuperates from severe fractures in her shoulders and from neck and leg injuries in a hospital in Indian town of Baramullah. Photo by Joshua Newton

      “The first snow has already fallen in the tops of the mountains,” a relief worker in Indian-administered Kashmir noted. “Bronchitis will be on the rise in no time. The colder it gets, the more bronchitis you’ll have.”
      The next three weeks are crucial, workers say; hundreds of remote villages will become impossible to reach in a couple of weeks as snowfall begins to mount in regions shaken by the 7.6-magnitude earthquake.
      In addition to bronchitis, health workers have warned that unless fresh water, food and shelter become available, diseases such as tetanus, pneumonia, cholera and measles, along with diarrhea, fever and tick-borne viruses from livestock, are certain to spread, especially among survivors with open cuts and sores. Authorities reportedly are killing dogs out of fear they could carry parasites that might spread potentially fatal diseases.

Traumatized earthquake victims still unreached in Kashmir, waiting for help

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Makeshift shelter
A woman slumps down by her six-month-old daughter in a makeshift shelter in Indian-administered Kashmir, awaiting her husband's return from a relief center. Photo by Joshua Newton
SRINAGAR, Kashmir (BP)--Thousands of quake victims in Kashmir remained huddled on hillsides and in the valleys awaiting help, shivering in an onslaught of snow and unrelenting rains.
      Salamat Mir hugged his children close as the thin polythene sheet he had secured to protect his family fluttered in the chilling wind in the Uri sector of Indian-administered Kashmir, which sustained massive destruction in the Oct. 8 earthquake that left 70 percent of the houses severely damaged.

Christians win hearts among India’s quake victims

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Suddenly homeless
A girl child stands in front of her destroyed house in the Uri sector of Indian-administered Kashmir, where the Oct. 8 earthquake collapsed about 70 percent of the houses. Photo by Joshua Newton
SRINAGAR, Kashmir (BP)--In the Muslim-majority, Indian-administered area of Kashmir, parts of which were devastated by the Oct. 8 earthquake, Christian relief agencies actively attend to the hapless.
      NGOs have supplied rice millet, utensils, mattresses, and milk powder to most affected villages. Christian agencies are sending relief mostly through the churches in the valley.

Volunteers treat post-traumatic stress, pray for quake victims

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (BP)--Southern Baptist medical volunteers working in Pakistan’s quake zone say many of the patients they are treating suffer from post-traumatic stress -– and nearly all are in despair.

Quake survivors’ needs differ from tsunami, but sharing Jesus is key to both efforts

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (BP)--The Oct. 8 earthquake that shook northern Pakistan and India has the region scrambling once again to meet enormous needs as recovery continues from the Dec. 26 tsunami that ravaged the countries of Sri Lanka, India and the Maldives.
    Southern Baptist disaster relief response to the earthquake will be similar to its response to the tsunami: meeting medical needs, providing food, building temporary shelter and helping individuals generate income.

Baptist workers struggle with tough conditions to deliver aid to quake survivors

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (BP)--Southern Baptist aid workers are contending with bone-chilling rains, roads jammed with homeless survivors and mobs desperate for help as they take relief supplies into the heart of Pakistan’s earthquake-devastated Kashmir.
      With 11 workers on the ground, more on the way -- and $150,000 in Southern Baptist disaster relief funds -- the relief team is transporting truckloads of medical supplies, tents and food into mountain areas near the epicenter of the worst earthquake in modern Pakistani history.
      “Our people are getting into areas that other organizations aren’t getting into because we know the local language,” the team’s coordinator said Oct. 11 from their temporary base in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital. “The U.N. and all the big guys are taking care of easy-to-get-to places. We’re trying to get to places nobody will go.