The “Silent Earthquake” That Could Be Prevented
By Akhtar M. Faruqui

CG N.M. Jadmani
Dr Shenaz Khan
Dr. Yasmin Qasim
Dr. Parveen I. Ahmed

Buena Park: The October 8 Earthquake has become synonymous with death and destruction. Almost 100,000 Pakistanis perished in the terrible disaster and the staggering number included 20, 000 youngsters. The date of the tragedy and the scale of destruction it wrought are vividly recalled by Pakistanis at home and abroad. Yet, not many of us have heard of the “silent earthquake” that claims 40,000 young lives every month – twice the number of youngsters who died on October 8, 2005!
The silent earthquake is not a transitory or passing phenomenon. It is a catastrophic happening that haunts Pakistan and continues every passing day to claim precious lives. Annually, the number of young Pakistanis who die of malnutrition, lack of vaccination, polluted water, poor health facilities, etc approximates 480,000, a truly colossal figure!
These statistics were furnished by Dr Shenaz Khan, Co-Chairperson, Human Development Foundation of USA, at the Eid-Earthquake Fundraising Dinner at the Buena Park Knotts Berry Farm Resort Hotel on January 20. “We cannot prevent deaths from earthquakes, but we can prevent deaths from the silent earthquake by promoting education; by providing vaccination, clean water and better material care; and by empowering people through sustainable, well-meaning programs. This is what HDF is doing,” so saying Dr Shenaz defined the raison d’etre of the Human Development Foundation of USA.
The HDF, she pointed out, was part of the ongoing earthquake relief operations “but we are doing more than that.” She described at length the various schemes that the HDF has successfully introduced in various parts of Pakistan to improve the lot of the country’s less privileged segment of population.
A “quick overview” of what the “HDF had been doing in the post-quake period” was also given by Bill Breedlone, Executive Director, HDF.

Munni Begum performs at the function
Mr. and Mrs. Abu Baker Vakil
Rauf Gajiani and CG Jadmani

Speaking on the occasion, Consul General Noor Mohammad Jadmani thanked the gathering for its support to the government’s quake relief measures. He spoke of the daunting task of reconstruction that lay ahead and described in detail the sponsorship schemes that individuals and organizations could choose from for playing their role in the reconstruction work.
The projects have been posted on the website of the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) responsible for the implementation of the rescue effort. He described the sponsorship program in some detail. “It will mainly focus on the private housing sector, health care sector, and education sector due to their high priority in the reconstruction agenda.”


Prominent community members at the HDF Fundraiser

Mr Jadmani also made a reference to the cost estimates. “To help potential sponsors in easy identification of target areas and formulation of sponsorship donation, an arbitrary packaging of housing, health and education sectors has been done, These packages contain information like number of units required at various levels (villages, tehsil, district etc) , rough cost of each unit, overall cost indicators. This information is available on the ERRA website.
“All potential sponsors/donors will be encouraged to register with ERRA for central coordination and data base management requirements,” the Consul General informed.


From right: Sarfaraz Khan’s mother, Rehana Qamar, Mrs Mufti, Mr Mufti, Sarfaraz Khan,
Zubair Rawda and Zaheer Babar

The fundraiser saw a well-knit community opening its heart to support the HDF relief operations for a noble cause. The mood was one of conviviality, mutual respect and belonging. The HDF team comprising Dr Yasmin Qasim, Dr Zahida Bhutto, Dr Sanobar Baig, Dr Naseem Malik, Dr Parveen Imdad Ahmed, Sofia Altaf, Abu Bakr Vakil, Yasmeen Hussain, Mazhar Hussain and Saghir Aslam, visibly took pains to ensure that the invitees enjoyed the evening.

The compere, Dr Parveen Imdad Ahmed, appeared confident and self-assured and had an enlivening influence on the proceedings. Munni Begum’s performance was scintillating and greatly enjoyed by the appreciative audience. The food by Shahnawaz was delicious as usual.


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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