Today is the fourth anniversary of the 7.6 richter scale earthquake that hit the Northern areas of Pakistan. It was the fourteenth most deadly earthquake on record, and resulted in the loss of more than 75,000 lives and the destruction of 600,000 homes. 3.5 million people were left homeless. In just four years Pakistanis have mostly forgotten an event of this magnitude. There are only passing mentions of it in a handful of the news papers about it. This does not bode well for them as earthquakes in Pakistan come with the territory. The majestic mountains of northern Pakistan were carved by forces equally potent. It is extremely important that Pakistanis remember this earthquake, the lessons learned should be kept in mind for when, not if, the next one happens.
The response by the Pakistani public to the earthquake was as one would expect, amazing. International community donated $5.8 billion. Heavy US helicopters averted a much greater loss of life by providing food and medicines to far flung areas. Doctors from many countries came to assist the injured. Doctors from Turkey and Cuba stand out within them.
Pakistani diaspora across the world played its role in getting relief goods and services into the effected areas. Pakistani American community of Greater Boston created a “Zalzala” group. This group coordinated a wide variety of activities for a very long time. The remarkable thing about the activities of the Pakistani diaspora was that the work of any one community was unremarkable. They all did all that  could have been done.

I would like to recognize the efforts of this group in general and the efforts of the following in particular.

  • Dr. Naheed Usmani
  • Thalassa Scholl
  • Sajid Naseem
  • Dure Afzal
  • Dr. Nadeem Afridi
  • OPEN (Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs of North America)

Thalassa was kind enough to write a prolog to a website I had created for creating greater awareness of that part of the world within the US. It consisted of photographs of the areas of Pakistan in the 1800s.  This website is still around and can be viewed at “Old Pakistan”. Since then many site have linked to it and many other sites have published other old photos of Pakistan.

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