Residents in Swat, Pakistan are waiting for relief assistance after Monday’s massive earthquake flattened their town, still struggling to recover from Taliban militancy and other natural disasters. Pavithra George reports.
Lives shattered; Swat Valley counts cost of earthquake
Their houses reduced to rubble by Monday’s earthquake, residents in Swat are spending the night outside, braving the cold temperatures.
Shopkeeper Bacha Khan describes the moments after the quake, when he returned home.
(SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) SHOPKEEPER BACHA KHAN, SAYING:
“When I reached here, my house was completely destroyed. Now we will be sitting on the ground as we don’t have any other place to live. This was the only shelter for us.”
Those who have homes still standing are too scared to sleep indoors —fearing aftershocks.
The massive, 7.5 magnitude earthquake killed more than 300 people across northern Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Pakistan bore the brunt of the disaster- with at a death toll of at least 228.
Residents in Swat, a town once controlled by Taliban militants, say they just can’t catch a break.
(SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) RESIDENT OF MINGORA, SAEED REHMAN, SAYING:
“Once there were Taliban here and their presence hindered the progress of our Swat. It ruined business and trade. Then, when the situation improved, the flood came here. Now when the situation got better, this earthquake has hit here. May Allah bestow mercy upon us in future.”
With remote villages still cut off, there are fears that the death toll could rise even higher.
And as winter sets in across the mountainous region, authorities face the tough task of finding homes for the thousands left homeless by the earthquake.