When Quetta razed to ground within 30 seconds 88 years ago
Members of the Christian Community visiting the monument established in memory of victims of 1935 earthquake: Photo Manan Mandokhail

Syed Ali Shah:

Quetta, Pakistan’s southwestern city was razed to ground within 30 seconds when a powerful earthquake struck 88 years ago. The deadliest earthquake of 1935 still haunts the people.

Strong tremors jolted this mountain-ringed city between 2:33 to 3:40 am when people were in their deep sleep on May 31sr. 1935. The earthquake was recorded 7.7 on the reactor scale. It was Chiltan fault located in the South West of the city that destroyed the city. Chiltan and Chaman fault pose a serious threat to Quetta and parts of northern and central Balochistan.

A view of memorial established in the memory of victims of 1935 earthquake: Photo Manan Mandokhail

British rulers declared emergency after the deadliest earthquake of 1935

The English colonial rulers declared an emergency in the aftermath of the deadliest earthquake, which claimed more than 30,000 lives. Rescue workers and military personnel were moved from Bombay to Quetta in passenger trains to assist in the rescue efforts. Local tribesmen from neighboring Pishin, Mastung and other areas also rushed towards the city to participate in the rescue operation.

It took weeks and months for the rescue workers to retrieve the dead bodies buried beneath the rubbles of the houses. The earthquake destroyed main commercial center of the city.

Specific building code was introduced for Quetta

The British rulers introduced a specific building code for Quetta in view of the looming danger of earthquakes. For sometime, the building code was implemented in latter and spirit. However, that is no more than the case when it comes to the implementation of the building code in the city.

Over 700 building constructed in violation of building code

As per the statistics of the metropolitan corporation Quetta, around 700 buildings have been constructed in the city in violation of building code. Substandard materials are also being used in construction, which can cause more human losses in the case of any future earthquakes.
Experts have warned that there is ticking bomb beneath Quetta and precautionary measures need to be adopted to ensure quality construction and implementation of building code to avoid human losses in the case of any natural calamity.

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Quetta Voice is an English Daily covering all unfolding political, economic and social issues relating to Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province in terms of area. QV's main focus is on stories related to education, promotion of quality education and publishing reports about out of school children in the province. QV has also a vigilant eye on health, climate change and other key sectors.