Ecotourism Society Pakistan: SOUTH ASIA EARTHQUAKE, OCT 8, 2005

Ecotourism Society Pakistan: SOUTH ASIA EARTHQUAKE, OCT 8, 2005

South Asia Earthquake 2005


Agha Iqrar Haroon, Ecotourism Society Pakistan (ESP)


There is significant evidence that many casualties caused by the October 8 earthquake in the mountain areas were a result of ill-planned and shoddy building construction that did not follow the basic principles of sound mountain area construction. Shortly after the earthquake, the Ecotourism Society of Pakistan (ESP) sent a team of students to the areas affected by the earthquake, including Murree, Muzafarabad and Balakot, in order to prepare a report on the situations of the devastated communities.


Whereas many century- and half-a-century-old buildings with wooden pillar and canopy rooftops, such as the old barracks of British Army Cantonment, have survived, most new concrete buildings were erased to the ground. Concrete slabs from these buildings are preventing the efforts to rescue people trapped inside, as they are heavy and difficult to remove, cut or break.


In the absence of effective regulations on safe and sustainable construction, concrete buildings have mushroomed in recent years in the mountain areas throughout Pakistan. ESP has taken the initiative to submit a letter to President Pervez Musharraf and other government officials, including Gen Zubair, who is in charge of rehabilitation of the areas hit by the earthquake, detailing the need for more effective and responsible regulations over reconstruction plans in these mountain areas, and proper representation of mountain experts in the government. The importance of sustainable development of mountain areas is one of the lessons that not only Pakistan, but also Nepal and other small mountainous countries around the world must learn from the devastating experience of the recent earthquake.


ESP provides information on earthquake relief activities on its website, which is regularly updated. Governments, embassies, developmental organizations, NGOs, volunteers and any other groups and individuals helping in the relief work are invited to send their news items, information and reports to be posted on the website. Journalists are also welcome to share their articles, ideas, criticism on this portal.


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