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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 October 2006, 11:13 GMT 12:13 UK
South Asia earthquake: One year on
On 8 October 2005, at 0350 GMT, a magnitude 7.6 earthquake occurred in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, leaving about 75,000 dead and hundreds of thousands homeless.
Much of the worst damage was in the disputed territory of Kashmir.

Map of earthquake

The epicentre was located 80km (50 miles) north-east of Islamabad but was felt in the Pakistani capital and across South Asia, from Afghanistan to western Bangladesh.

By 27 October, more than 1,000 aftershocks had been recorded. The World Bank described the 2005 earthquake as arguably the most debilitating natural disaster in Pakistan's history.

Pakistan side: 73,338 dead
India side: 1,360 dead
Affected population: 3.5m
Health facilities destroyed: 80%
Area affected: 30,000 sq km
Still in tent camps: 35,000

The worst-hit areas were Pakistan-administered Kashmir and the eastern districts of the North-West Frontier Province. As well as the loss of human life, the earthquake destroyed homes, public building, infrastructure, commerce and communications.

Relief agencies mobilised and pledges of $5.4bn were made by the international community - all the more urgent as survivors faced the imminent onset of the Himalayan winter.

By 11 November, the government had distributed 350,000 tents, 3.2m blankets and 3,000 tonnes of medicine and set up dozens of tent villages for those affected.


Aid agencies and NGOs from around the world were deployed to the region immediately after the earthquake and some have remained, training local people in construction, helping to rebuild homes and schools.

Camp in Muzaffarabad
Tents: 951,790
Blankets: 6,361,090
Rations: 256,376 tonnes
Medicines 2053.76 tonnes
Miscellaneous: 131,041.23 tonnes
Source: Erra

One year on, about 400,000 people face a second winter without permanent shelter in the mountains and valleys of northern Pakistan, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

The UN says there are about 35,000 people still living in 45 tent camps and agencies are expecting at least another 20,000 to come down from the hills in the next couple of months before winter, when temperatures can drop to -15C or -20C in the highest villages.

The Pakistani government's Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (Erra) says major roads have been re-opened and that four bridges washed away in recent floods have been replaced. The government says most of the power supply has been restored to affected areas.


One of the worst-hit areas was the town of Balakot - which was reduced to rubble by the earthquake.

Copyright Digital Globe 2006, distributed by Eurimage. Courtesy of Unosat, UNHabitat
Satellite images show the north-western neighbourhood was flattened
Source: Unosat, Unhabitat

The town is on a major geological fault-line and was close to the epicentre of the quake. The government has decided that more than 40,000 Balakot residents will be relocated to a new town some 30km (18 miles) away at Bakryal.

Thousands of families have already left the area, but some have stayed to rebuild their homes. Most of the rubble has been removed, but there are still no permanent buildings - only re-inforced shelters.

But Balakot remains an economic centre, markets are functioning and people are able to buy food and building materials.

View of Balakot 2 October 2006

The Swiss government agency Swiss Humanitarian Aid (SHA) has been part of the international aid effort, working with local people in Balakot and Batagram. The head of the reconstruction team, Thomas Fisler, says the next big challenge is to prepare for the winter.

He says most people have not been able to rebuild their houses entirely so they are making semi-permanent structures to see them through the harsh weather.

They are using timber from their damaged homes, dry mud walls and the tarpaulins and corrugated iron sheets from their temporary shelters.

"In my opinion the majority of shelters are barely... sufficient for the winter," he said. "There is a concern that if the winter is very harsh, there will be an immediate need for relief again."


Almost one million tents have been distributed since the earthquake to provide shelter for homeless families. Millions of sheets of tarpaulin and plastic have also been provided to insulate the tents from the rain and snow.

The authorities are encouraging people to make their new homes more resistant to earthquakes

The UN says its agencies have helped 76,000 people return from temporary camps to their place of origin.

The Pakistani government has already distributed $44m to 379,660 people to help them to rebuild their homes. Most people received $441 to cover basic shelter needs.

People whose homes were destroyed are receiving about $2,485 in instalments as well as technical training and advice. Those whose homes were damaged receive about $1,242.

Twelve housing reconstruction centres have been set up around the region to help train people. More than 75,000 people have been given basic training. Erra has a selection of basic designs - which incorporate earthquake-resistant features.

The UN agencies have allocated $95.6m for 26 livelihood programmes involving seed distribution, fertilisers, livestock, skill development and agriculture implants. Different NGOs are also working on similar projects.


The UN says no cases of malnutrition were reported despite six out of the nine districts affected by the earthquake being areas where food is traditionally in short supply.

More than 200,000 tonnes of food were distributed to 2.3m people, including 745,000 people in inaccessible remote mountainous locations.

Rehabilitation centres: 2
New health outlets: 20
Prefab health facilities: 100
Ambulances: 10
Source: UN
The UN says the emergency created the opportunity to set up new and temporary health facilities and restock existing ones. More than 1.25m children in the region who were not vaccinated before were given shots against polio, meningitis and measles and of Vitamin A.

More than 69,000 people were severely injured in the earthquake, and an estimated 10,000 children left disabled.

Aid efforts have enabled the setting up of a spinal cord injury rehabilitation facility in Islamabad for women and children, treating over 100 quadriplegic and paraplegic patients. Two medical rehabilitation centres have also been set up in Muzaffarabad and Abbottabad.

The UN says more than 1,000 community health workers, 2,300 lady health workers have been trained to work in communities.

Nine mobile service units deployed in the region have helped deliver some 4,500 babies.


More than 6,000 schools and colleges were destroyed in the earthquake. The Pakistani authorities plan to rebuild 1,574 of them during 2006 and 2007, including 1,202 primary schools, 126 secondary schools, 13 colleges and two universities.

The UN says the relief efforts enabled the enrolment of school-age girls who had previously never joined a school.

Safe play area in Bagh district (Photo: Save the Children)
Children are encouraged to study and play in designated safe play areas (Photo: Save the Children)
More than 4,300 schools were immediately re-established in tents allowing almost 400,000 children to enrol, of which 38% were girls, the majority of whom had not been enrolled before the earthquake.

Save the Children says that after the disaster it was important to get children back to school as soon as possible as education plays a vital role in protection, providing children with a safe environment and giving parents time to rebuild their lives.

"The things children learn in school can help them cope with the emergency - teaching children how to be prepared for an earthquake and what to do if it happens again can reduce their fear," a spokeswoman said.

Among its aid programme, Save the Children distributed 522 school kits containing teaching materials, notebooks, pencils, games and toys to schools and provided 80,000 text books.

Quake survivors speak about their living conditions

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