Programme Manager -BPSD, IUCN
Quetta-Pakistan - For a moment I thought this might be the end of the world as the mountains were shaking violently and about 2000 people gathered in the grave yard of village Wam were screaming and running in every direction, the noise of two big mechanical grave diggers and three army helicopters was in the air, and the air was filled with dust coming down from the mountains and I was standing close to about 60 dead bodies.
I had never imagined to see this when I was leaving Quetta city to assess the damages inflicted by the earthquake. This was a magnitude 6.9 earthquake on the Richter scale and I was standing right on the epicentre which was 7 kilometres deep.
Dead bodies lined up for mass burial
Wam and other nearby villages were completely destroyed with more than 200 people dead and about 300 injured. The latest information suggests the total death toll in the area is more than 350 with number of affected people reaching as high as 48,000. 100% houses from Kawas to Wam Tangi area have been either destroyed or sustained major structural damages and are un-safe.
Wam village is about 80 kilometres from Quetta on way to Ziarat. The terrain is rugged and the night time temperature was below freezing. The residents of the village are mostly farmers raising livestock with some of them having their own fruit orchards. Wam and nearby villages of Killi Malik Payo, Kan Bangla, Killi Niamatullah, Wam Lwarai and Charrai are made of mud houses which are no more there.. The survivors, including women, elderly people and children were sitting in the open, their heads covered with pieces of cloth and a few blankets. Many of them will be staying out in the night without food and shelter.