Balochistan is not a stranger to earthquakes
The recent earthquake in Harnai sends alarm bells across Pakistan about the looming threat of natural calamities. A mild earthquake struck one of the most impoverished parts of Balochistan at the midnight on October 7.
The earthquake claimed 20 lives and over 200 people sustained injuries. Most of the victims belonged to poor and marginalized families living in mud-walled houses located in the heart of Harnai and surrounding villages. Six children were also among the dead. Balochistan government, Pak Army and other departments deserve to be appreciated for their prompt response to the natural calamity. However, complete rehabilitation of the affected people needs sustained efforts and strategy.
Jolts damage hundreds of mud-walled houses
The earthquake also damaged hundreds of mud-walled houses in the district. Most of the earthquake affectees are either small farmers and coal miners. The survivors are still feeling aftershocks thus suffering from physiological trauma.
Balochistan is not a stranger to earthquakes. In 1997, an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 had claimed 75 lives in Harnai. The then government had failed to construct earthquake-proof houses since the district was located in the earthquake-sensitive zone.
Quetta and most parts of Balochistan are located in the earthquake-sensitive zone. Quetta city was razed to the ground within 30 seconds on May 31st, 1935. In November 2008, an earthquake killed more than 200 people in the Ziarat district of Balochistan.
Earthquakes claim precious lives in Mashkail and Awaran
On April 18, 2013, an earthquake of 7.8 magnitudes killed dozens of people in Mashkail town of Pakistan near the Iranian border. In September 2013, an earthquake killed over 1,000 people in Balochistan’s Awaran district.
Repeated earthquakes confirm that the entire province to all-natural disasters in general and earthquakes in particular. The government must ensure the implementation of the building code in Quetta. The English rulers had introduced a specific building code in the aftermath of the 1935 deadliest earthquake.
Hundreds of buildings constructed in Quetta in violation of building code
In clear violation of the building code, hundreds of buildings have been constructed in the heart of Quetta city right under the nose of the authorities. The government should create awareness among the people regarding natural calamities and take effective steps to mitigate their impacts.