QUETTA - Three children were recovered alive after three days from the rubble in Mashkay tehsil of Awaran which was badly hit by 7.8-quake on Tuesday (September 24).
Amid the dust and wreckage in Mashkay, there have been some moments of hope - three children, the youngest just three years old, were found alive in the ruins of a house.
Similarly, three dead bodies were also retrieved as the people are still awaiting massive rescue and relief help from the government functionaries.
A large number of journalists present in Awaran and Mashkay for coverage told this scribe on phone that no rescue teams had arrived in most of the parts of Awaran and Mashkay. “Some rescue teams are engaged in the relief work in urban Awaran, but no team has reached far-flung areas where a massive devastation has occurred,” they added.
According to Reuters, the death toll in the earthquake has risen to 515.
Some local people staged a noisy demonstration outside the office of the deputy commissioner, demanding immediate relief and rescue for their trapped dear ones.
Mashkay Assistant Commissioner Mir Naseer Ahmed Mosiani told media persons that a widespread death and destruction had been caused by the earthquake and there was no water available for human consumption while most of the natural springs had disappeared following the earthquake. He confirmed that more than 200 people had lost their lives in Mashkay only. A local journalist, Ismail Sasoli, claimed more than 400 people had been injured in Mashkay alone.
The assistant commissioner said that more than 10,000 tents were needed for the Mashkay subdivision whereas official and other sources confirmed that only 200 tents had arrived in Awaran.
Mir Naseer Ahmed Mosiani categorically said the environment in Mashkay subdivision was completely peaceful and normal and there was no threat to life, so volunteers should come and start the rescue and relief operation.
“Scores of volunteers, belonging to some non-governmental organizations (NGOs), managed on their own to reach Awaran. All of them were stopped at check posts for unknown reasons and no official of the district administration came to guide them to start the relief work,” a local journalist, Shabbir Rakhsani, complained. He added there was no control room in the entire district to guide and help the people ready to undertake rescue and relief operation.
There was a general impression of the local people reached by telephone that the government’s rescue and relief efforts were still missing even after three days of the deadly earthquake.
A journalist visited Teer Tej village where 2,000 mud houses collapsed and more than 80 people lost their lives.
According to some NGOs, the Frontier Corps detained relief truckloads at Lasbela, disallowing them to take the supplies to the affected people when they refused to hand over the supplies to the FC troops more than 200 kilometers away from Awaran. After intervention by the higher officials, these truckloads were, however, allowed to move. The trucks reached at 3am at Awaran where they were parked close to the DC office, but did not reach the quake victims. A large number of people gathered outside the DC office and expressed their anger while some of them took away food and items from the trucks in desperation.
There was only one doctor to provide medical aid to the injured. He was just giving painkillers to the patients as there was no other medicine available. There was no x-ray facility to detect bone fractures as well.
The federal interior minister and the Punjab chief minister inspected a camp inside the FC-controlled area, but did not visit public places for security reasons. However, they made an assessment of poverty and backwardness of the affected areas through an aerial survey.
Meanwhile, an aftershock of 5 at Richter scale was reported in Awaran and the other affected areas, with no report of loss of life and property so far.
PDMA Chief Hafiz Basit told a news conference in Quetta that a 50-bed hospital in Awaran had been made functional, having doctors and medicines.
Mir Jan Muhammad Buleidai who was also present on the occasion said 22 truckloads of supplies had been dispatched to the affected areas. He confirmed that seriously injured people were being shifted to Karachi for better treatment.