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Last Updated: Friday, 4 November 2005, 18:46 GMT
Laptop link-up: Quake aftermath
360-degree panorama
View a 360-degree panorama of Muzaffarabad


On Friday 4 November, BBC News hosted a live link-up with people in the city of Muzaffarabad, which was virtually demolished by the disaster.

As part of the link-up, children from schools in the British city of Bradford, which has a large Pakistani population, sent their questions to earthquake survivors in Muzaffarabad.

BBC News website reporter Neil Arun in Muzaffarabad put questions from the Bradford schoolchildren and from readers around the world to people there.

Read on to see how the day unfolded.

2100 - 2200 local time

By Neil Arun

Night has fallen on Muzaffarabad after an Eid celebration unlike any in this city's history.

Charity begins at home

On a traditional day of festivity and family reunions, almost every household is in mourning - the pain of losing loved ones to last month's quake has never felt sharper.

As the laptop link-up got under way this morning, the participants, homeless and bereaved, said they had nothing to celebrate.

At midday, we left the BBC camp and returned to the places these people now call home - dusty encampments on the outskirts of the city.

It was here, amid the colour and squalor of hundreds of families forced into close proximity, that a festive spirit became apparent.

Children milled around our equipment, many wearing their smartest clothes. Mothers sat in tents, washing and dressing their offspring.

Men approached to offer Eid greetings, others seized my hand insisting I visit their tents and meet their families.

At first I thought they wanted to show me the adversity in which they lived - but on arriving at the tents, I discovered the motive was no more than hospitality.

Tea and sweets were conjured for the guest. The only lament I heard was that I had not visited Muzaffarabad two months ago, before the quake took their homes away.

I returned to the BBC base after dusk. As the evening chill set in, I wondered how long such a warm-hearted people could survive the Himalayan winter homeless.

1900 - 2000 local time

QUESTION: What do you think your future will look like now there has been an earthquake?
Sidra Saddique, Thornbury Primary school, Bradford

ANSWERS:

MUZAFFARABAD QUAKE IMPACT
Map of Kashmir
Pakistan death toll: 73,276
Death toll in Muzaffarabad district: 33,724
Population of Muzaffarabad district in 2002: 833,000
Children killed by quake: 17,000
Sources: Unicef; local government

Rizwan Zia, 28, businessman:
I used to travel, enjoy seeing the world. Now I just want to stay here. This is my world now, sitting here, looking after my family, guarding what's left of our house. I want whoever that's reading this to know - whether this Muzaffarabad is rebuilt or not, we are never leaving here. We will stay on now, whatever happens next. This is our home.

Imran Zia, 26:
Same here. I need go no further than Islamabad, only 140 km away, to find the noise and chaos gives me a headache. I see people there living life as normal and I feel they don't care what happened to us. Only I know this pain.

Pray for us, whoever you are reading this, give us motivation.

QUESTION: Is the Western world currently doing enough to bring the people back on their feet and give them a shred of hope?
Emad, Montreal

ANSWERS:

Rizwan Zia:
We've seen a lot of aid here. Relief has come from afar. There is no shortage of supplies. But there is no long-term plan. And that makes me worry. What happens when the relief goods run out? What happens if, heaven forbid, there is another earthquake somewhere else? Then everyone will forget about us. Their attention will shift and we will be left as we here. I fear nothing of lasting value is being done with the aid we receive.

Imran Zia:
I have a question for the world. There is a lot of relief work here but it's slowing down. I get the sense that other countries are beginning to lose interest in us. Why is that? Is it because this is still not as big a death toll as the tsunami?

Rizwan Zia
Rizwan Zia says he will never leave his home in Muzaffarabad
QUESTION: Has the earthquake brought the two Kashmirs closer?
Reuben Dantes, Bombay

ANSWER:

Rizwan Zia:
We're still trying to track down our own close family. No one knows where anyone is right now. We haven't thought of what's going on beyond that.

QUESTION: If you had a wish-list, what more aid would you like to be brought in?
M. Martin

ANSWERS:

Rizwan Zia:
Clearly, we need help to build our homes again. We can't make this city bigger and better than it was before but maybe we can restore it to what it used to be with the right help.

Imran Zia:
Be with us, stay with us.

1800 - 1900 local time

Khwaja Imran
Khwaja Imran is pleading for people to return to Muzaffarabad
QUESTION: How did you feel when the earthquake happened?
Ambar Ayub, Thornbury Primary school, Bradford

ANSWER:

Mohammed Afzal Chauhan, businessman:
The earthquake was terrible. But it was God's will, not the work of men. What is really terrible is what happened after the earthquake - the looting, the plunder. A lot of outsiders arrived to steal from us in our moment of weakness. So much money and jewellery was taken away.

Truly, Pakistan is the last bastion of Islam and you see all types of behaviour here.

There was an old man from Lahore, which is thousands of miles away, who heard about the quake and put a load of blankets and food in his horse-cart and set off to help us. Imagine. All the way from Lahore in a cart!

But just before he could get here, highwaymen robbed him of everything

QUESTION: Has anybody you know left the area?
Al-Harris Hussain, Thornbury Primary school, Bradford

ANSWER:

Khwaja Imran, baker:
I have one request to the people who have left Muzaffarabad since the quake. Come back! We need you here. We need you to rebuild. My business has gone bust since all of you left. I used to make money as a supplier to bakeries and sweetshops. Now I myself must bake pastries to earn a living

QUESTION: How is your life different from before?
Bilal Ahmed, Thornbury Primary school, Bradford

ANSWER:

Sana, 12, schoolgirl:
I miss my family as some of them have died. My friends are scattered all over the place. I don't know what has happened to a lot of them. I miss good food from the bazaar, I used to love that.

Imran Zia:
We used to go Pir Chanasi. It was a great spot for picnics. I have no friends to take picnics with now. Even the road to Pir Chanasi is barely there. It's all gone. The roads, the people, the shops.

1700 - 1800 local time

Education
As a father teaches his son, education remains a priority for children in the area
QUESTION: Has any good come out of the earthquake?
Omar Javed, Thornbury Primary school, Bradford

ANSWERS:

Robina Bashir, 22, social worker:
Yes. Before the quake there was a great difference between the rich and the poor. Now, because of this quake, we are more equal. We must live like one family. We are all connected.

Taufeeq Sheikh, 32, teacher:
We have got support from the world and we have also realised that the quake situation is a war. We have to take the initiative and, as in any war, support from people around the world is really necessary.

Imran:
We have learnt that nothing material is permanent. What matters most are things you can't see - like the bonds between people. Buildings don't matter anymore, they all fall down. Making money, getting a big house - what's the point? Just help people. Live for others. That's what we've learnt.

QUESTION: What kind of games do you play at school?
Nasema Aktha, Byron Primary school, Bradford

ANSWERS:

Sana:
We play games like blind man's bluff. That is my favourite game. But we also play hockey and sometimes football. Although we haven't played since the earthquake happened.

Jehanzeb, 15, schoolboy:
I used to love playing cricket, football and hockey. Now we just play "running around". We kids chase each other around the camp.

Jehanzeb
Jehanzeb mainly plays "running around" now
QUESTION: If you had a wish-list, what more aid would you like to be brought in?
M. Martin

ANSWER:

Robina Bashir:
We want to stand up on our own two feet and live like we did before. We are happy that people from around the world have come here to help us but we don't want to become beggars. And we need the correct kind of aid - not cookies and milk, which is what we get.

1600 - 1700 local time

Taufeeq Sheikh
Taufeeq Sheikh sees the earthquake as a sign from God
QUESTION: How long do you think it will take for your life to get back to normal?
Iman Jackson, Thornbury Primary school, Bradford

ANSWER:

Taufeeq Sheikh:
It really depends. We do need help. It could take five years, maybe. It took 50 years to develop this city. And 20 seconds to destroy it. We need to build about 50,000 houses.

QUESTION: How did you feel when the earthquake happened?
Zakir Rehman, Thornbury Primary school, Bradford

ANSWERS:

Robina Bashir:
The earthquake felt like the day of judgement. I thought it was the last day ever. But then, after some time, I remembered that according to Islam Judgement Day is on a Friday. The quake happened on a Saturday so it couldn't have been Judgement Day.

But it was pure horror. There were dead bodies and blood everywhere.

We are Muslims and our religion teaches us to be tolerant and compassionate. No one wept after the quake because everybody looked around and thought: "My sorrow is still smaller than that of others".

Robina Bashir
Robina Bashir says the earthquake felt like the day of judgement
Taufeeq Sheikh:
We lost our senses during the quake. Something happened to us, which our ancestors never experienced. We see it as a sign from God that we were sinful and we have to correct our ways. Sin has been the downfall of many a great nation. We must be careful. This is a sign from God.

QUESTION: Has the earthquake brought the two Kashmirs closer?
Reuben Dantes, Bombay

ANSWER:

Taufeeq Sheikh:
Yes it has. I believe this represents a U-turn on the Kashmir problem. I am true Kashmiri and I believe this will lead to a solution, Inshallah.

1500 - 1600 local time

Shabnam and her mother
Shabnam (r) clasps her wounded left eye as her mother looks on
QUESTION: Have you been fasting?
Safia Parveez, Byron Primary school, Bradford

ANSWERS:

Shabnam, 12, schoolgirl: Most people are fasting but I am not. I wanted to fast but my mother said that I must not because I needed to take my medicine and recover.

Taufeeq Sheikh:
At first there was complete chaos. No one knew if the world would end, some didn't know what to do, whether to still fast or not. For a few days there was chaos but since then everyone has kept the fast.

QUESTION: Do you feel the international community has done all it could to help? What more do you think could be done to help?
Michael M, Blacksburg

ANSWER:

Rizwan:
We've been very pleased by the response from around the world. We have never seen such sympathy from strangers. I understand it is an enormous task to rebuild - just look at the devastation.

No-one here has high expectations. It is going to take ages and it won't improve overnight.

I have a question for the world. When are we going to know what to do with our homes? We are scared that if we rebuild people will come and demolish them.

QUESTION: What do you want to become when you grow up?
Nicky Chanda, Byron Primary school, Bradford

ANSWERS:

Maryam, 14, schoolgirl:
I want to be a lawyer. I'm extremely argumentative and always getting into trouble. I don't like criminals.

Sana:
I don't know what I want to be in life yet but I want more than anything else to keep studying. I want books, perhaps a computer.

QUESTION: What supplies do you need the most?
Hamza Hassah, Thornbury Primary school, Bradford

ANSWER:

Maryam:
Hospitals and pencils.

1400 - 1500 local time

Maryam
Maryam says she has seen a lot of aid arrive
QUESTION: What relief organisations are supporting Pakistan?
Omar Javed, Thornbury Primary school, Bradford

ANSWER:

Maryam:
I can't specifically name the relief organisations but I know that foreigners have helped us a lot. We have seen a lot of aid arrive but today is the first time I saw foreigners.

QUESTION: Where were you when the earthquake happened?
Hamzah Hassa, Thornbury Primary school, Bradford

ANSWERS:

Maryam:
The children were all at school when the earthquake happened.

Sana:
We were at school. We thought the ground will crack and all of us will fall far inside the earth. For the first night, the whole family slept under open skies. We couldn't even get blankets from the house.

1300 - 1400 local time

Sadia Ahmed
Sadia Ahmed wanted to know how children can learn in tents
QUESTION: How do you learn in a tent school?
Sadia Ahmed, 10, Byron Primary school, Bradford

ANSWERS:

Maryam:
It is very hot and crowded in there. A lot of the kids who attend the tent school with us are refugees from villages around here and it's difficult to learn with them because they haven't been to schools like ours in the city. So things are still being worked out.

Sana:
We miss our old teachers. It's very hot in the tent and we have to sit on the floor. We are used to sitting at desks. The surroundings are very strange and that makes it harder to study.

Neil Arun, Muzaffarabad

Imran Zia
Imran Zia has set up a tent in front of his collapsed home
I met brothers Imran and Rizwan Zia who have agreed to answer questions from readers around the world.

Camped outside their collapsed home, they are both mourning the death of their teenage sister, Sahar, who was killed in the earthquake.

Twenty-six-year-old Imran only returned to Pakistan eight months ago having spent years living abroad.

He is an excellent cook and an ardent supporter of UK football team, Manchester United and he has been following their fortunes from afar.

His brother Rizwan, 28, ran a business distributing medicines for major pharmaceutical firms.

He has a passion for travelling and cars - his own car was destroyed in the earthquake.

1200 - 1300 local time

Sana
Sana says there are none of the usual Eid festivities this year
QUESTION: How are you going to celebrate Eid?
Bilal Ahmed, Byron Primary school, Bradford

ANSWERS:

Maryam:
Normally we get gifts but this year we are not sure if we will get any. We used to celebrate with our cousins but they died in the earthquake so half of our family won't be there.

Sana:
We put henna on our hands normally and get new clothes for Eid. This year there is none of that.

QUESTION: What can we do to help your schools and country?
Henna Masood, Thornbury Primary school, Bradford

ANSWER:

Maryam and Sana:
Seek Allah's blessing for us. We are OK and we are getting everything that we need.

0900 local time

By Neil Arun

Children by rubble
Many children have been left traumatised by the quake
The chill night has yielded a clear morning. Being here several days does nothing to dull the shock of my first steps into the sun - of seeing afresh the devastation of our surroundings.

Beyond the mountains of rubble that have replaced the houses of Muzaffarabad loom the Himalayas. Helicopters whirr through the valley, ferrying aid and dignitaries.

It is Eid today, the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Men stop in the streets, swapping smiles and embraces. Our companions from last night's campfire arrive and greet us: "Eid Mubarak!"

They shake hands before bowing slightly with both hands crossed across the chest - a gesture of sincerity.

At the mosque down the road, a queue has formed. People are wearing the cleanest clothes they can find. The muezzin is calling out morning prayers. Amid the desolation, there is festivity.





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