Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Survivors Recall Devastation of South Asian Earthquake | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Jammu, India, Asharq Al-Awsat- “Parts of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir resemble a graveyard; the dead are buried under the rubble, mutilated bodies liter the streets, and a foul smell fills the air, while the homeless and injured are awaiting to be rescued”, is how Jameet Singh, an Indian who miraculously was unharmed in Saturday’s earthquake described the scene. “Countless villages have been flattened and in some cases there are no survivors”, he added. Reunited with his family at Ghadhi Nagar house, Jameet celebrated with loved ones his lucky escape.

Other passengers on a bus that crossed the Line of Control on Saturday were not so lucky; five Sikhs escaped but two Hindus, Jagdeesh Tandon and Subash Tandon were injured in the quake and are currently in an Islamabad hospital, and Basti Rab, a Hindu who had traveled to see his family remains under the rubble of his ancestral home in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Singh’s wife, Baksheesh Kour, thanked God for saving her husband. “I told him not to go but he would not listen. All is well today and I have no regrets”, she said.

Forty seven passengers are still reportedly missing in Pakistan controlled Kashmir , out of a total of fifty seven.

Avtar Singh, another survivor from Channi Himat, in Jammu , remembering the moments the earth shook, said “It was horrible. There were dead people all around me. We survived because we were in the open after having our breakfast. We were getting ready to leave to Muzaffarabad where I am from. Suddenly, everything shook and in second the house we were staying in was flattened and the child of a distant cousin was trapped under the rubble. I cried. My cousin’s entire family died.”

Shamukh Singh, from Udhampur, still under shock, was reluctant to talk. He said nature was very cruel. “Telephone lines were down and people were saying that Jammu and Kashmir had been badly hit. I was worried about my family. We finally received a phone call on Saturday evening confirming they were safe.” His relatives had been moved from Muzaffarabad by the Pakistani air force to Chakala from where they were able to reach Islamabad.