Human Rights

Shaken Up: Looking back at the earthquake that changed personal history

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There was nothing significantly different about 8 October 2005. It was just another day of running errands, doing chores at home, going to school, writing a test, working the fields, etc. Then the ground began to shake vigorously and structures came crashing down as a massive earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale hit the Pakistan-administered Kashmir region . It flattened entire villages, caused enormous damage to roads and water systems and became a black day in the personal history of thousands of families. The earthquake killed 73,000 people. Many of those who survived were severely injured, disabled both physically and emotionally.

As the survivors began to piece together the fragments of their lives, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) stepped in to support the rehabilitation of those who had been disabled through the Muzaffarabad physical rehabilitation centre , which was opened in 2007. Patients were assessed by experts, provided with appropriate prostheses, orthoses or wheelchairs, put through physiotherapy and trained to use their mobility devices for greater independence. Those who needed assistance for earning a livelihood were also given cash grants.

Fourteen years since the earthquake, some of the victims talk about the memories that never leave them, the way back to normalcy and those who held them through the dark days.

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The opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of ians Global Network.

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