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Pakistan - Mange landsbyer er totalt ødelagt efter jordskælvet

PAKISTAN: Village of the dead

IRINnews.org, 24. oktober 2005

Jabri Kailash var tidligere en lille myldrende by med omkrign 4.000 indbyggere. Byen, der ligger nær jordskælvets epicenter, blev total ødelagt af naturkatastrofen. Hovedparten af indbyggerne formodes dræbt, og de der overlevede er der ingen der ved hvor befinder sig. De sociale problemer er overvældende, og mange andre småbyer i området har været udsat for en lignende skæbne.

Entire villages no longer exist and have become graveyards - ©  Kamila Hyat/IRIN
JABRI KAILASH, 24 Oct 2005 (IRIN) - The village of Jabri Kailash is draped in an eerie silence, every house flattened. The settlement is about 50 km from Balakot, close to the epicentre of the devastating regional earthquake that hit earlier this month.

A lone goat hops over the piles of debris in the village, as if searching for the people who once lived here. All the 4,000 inhabitants of Jabri Kailash are unaccounted for – and presumed to be dead.

If anyone survived, there's no sign of them, more than two weeks after the quake. Some accounts suggest a single survivor, a young man, walked away from the vanished village to Balakot. Others say no one was left alive. "The village went to sleep on 8 October and never woke up," says Rahim, from the village of Rajwal, in the same area.

A few household items, a broken chair, a discarded scarf, a few rustling papers, dot the rubble at Jabri Kailash. No one has attempted to shift the piles of stone and mud and concrete, under which many bodies still lie. Relief workers have not entered the village. After all, no assistance can be provided to the dead.

Jabri Kailash is one of many villages that were totally destroyed in the quake that has killed more than 50,000. Another village, Kond, in the Bisham area of Shangla district has also completely vanished. While desolate heaps of rubble mark many areas scattered across the hills of Mansehra, Battagram and Shangla district, it is thought in some cases survivors may have walked away to seek help or reach out to other humans.

It also seems grimly obvious that, once the debris is eventually removed, the bodies underneath will add to a death toll that continues to grow as new areas are accessed in one of the world's most difficult terrains. Above, the sun-drenched, towering Himalayas look down on the ruins of crumbled settlements where entire families and clans have been wiped off the face of the earth.

"We know entire villages have been wiped off the face of this planet. It is impossible to say how many, but this has happened both in the Mansehra area and in Pakistan-administered Kashmir," Pakistan military spokesman Major-General Shaukat Sultan said.

The impact of the losses on communities is still to emerge. "I am alone. All my children and grandchildren are dead. Who will care for me now?" asks Farooq Khan, 78, in Balakot where he has travelled down from his home village in Shangla district.

Farooq is frail and suffers from a weak heart. In traditional society across Pakistan, children, particularly sons, care for elderly parents or grandparents. In their absence, there exists no social network to which the aged can turn to for help.

The same issues will arise for many single mothers left with children to care for; for men whose wives have died leaving them alone to raise infants and for young women with no families left to arrange weddings and engage in the protracted negotiations this often involves.

In some communities all the children and almost all the women, are reported to be dead. The fact that many men from the area work in bigger towns or cities, returning to villages only during holidays, accounts for the profile of victims and adds to the social problems that will spring up within communities in the years to come.

© IRIN - This article appeared originally on IRIN News.org and is published by engelund.dk according a general agreement. To view the original article, please click here.
IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Networks) is a project of UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
[This article does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies.]


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Opdateret d. 9.1.2006