October 31, 2005
Earthquake toll on tomorrow's adultsTopics: Natural Disasters
It has now been almost a month since the earthquake in the Kashmir region of Asia. Sadly the toll from that quake is more than 50,000 lives, and of these lives it is estimated that more than 17,000 children perished.
... those that survived were either injured or suffered the trauma of losing friends and teachers.
It also warned of a second wave of deaths if children did not get health care, clean water and immunisations.
Pakistan says the quake killed more than 55,000 people, injured another 78,000 and left three million homeless.
Another 1,300 died in Indian-administered Kashmir.
Unicef says Pakistan government estimates show 6,700 schools were destroyed in North-West Frontier Province and 1,300 in Pakistan-administered Kashmir as children attended morning classes.
Ann Veneman, Unicef executive director, said the trauma suffered by the children who survived could well be worse than those who escaped last December's Asian tsunami.
"The ones that survived, many have injuries. The ones that survived, also many lost friends. They lost teachers, they lost important people in their lives."
Unicef estimates nearly 20,000 children "will have physical impairments after this tragedy due to injuries and amputations"
This is no time for either India or Pakistan to play politics, nor for religion to get in the way of helping the children and their families, and this is no time to play Holy Jihad with an innocent population. The people who have lost their homes need to find food and shelter and thus it is important that the people are allowed to cross the borders in the region so that they can travel to the homes of relatives.
There needs to be a greater effort to bring aid to the area, the Muslims in turn need to do more for their own, and they need to avoid making this just another reason to play jihadis or exercise a socio-political agenda.
The opportunity for an increased effort of cooperation has come out of the fact that along with all the bad news from the quake, did come some good news. Training camps used by jihadists battling with the Indian army for control of Kashmir were buried by landslides or left in ruins by the earthquake, bringing hope of a new opportunity for peace-making after a 16-year Islamic insurgency. Many in New Delhi see the earthquake as presenting a new opportunity for India and Pakistan to overcome their past hostilities.
Let's hope that religious differences will be set aside, and for the benefit of the children, and their future as adults, all will work together, for a change, in order to bring about, real change to the region.
Posted by at October 31, 2005 9:00 PM
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