The deadliest quake

We have not understood why the Kashmir Earthquake of 8 October has been termed the 'South Asia Quake' by the international media, including by the all-powerful, real-time satellite television networks. Southasia is a vast region and the ground trembled beneath one corner, well-known to the world as Kashmir, on two sides of a Line of Control. Somehow, it does injustice to the suffering of the living and the memory of the dead to call the disaster by the name of the larger region. The UN has declared the Kashmir catastrophe as more devastating than last year's tsunami. There are three to four million people suddenly without homes on the edge of winter, while Kofi Annan has stated that "there are not enough winterised tents in the world to meet the needs we have today".

The tsunami struck on the southern beaches of Southasia, while the earthquake hit the northwestern mountain fastness. The tsunami was, of course, also the result of an undersea earthquake; but because it was more unusual than a land quake, and also due to the fact that many holidaying Westerners died tragically, the emergency support was of a significantly different magnitude than what the Kashmir Earthquake is garnering. The world is not even close to matching the USD 11 billion gathered to date for post-tsunami relief. Barely a third of the requested USD 312 million emergency assistance requirement set by the UN had been filled two weeks after the Kashmir quake. During the same initial period, more than 80 percent of the announced needs had been filled after the tsunami struck.

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Himal Southasian