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Kashmir Earthquake (2005)

The Salvos provided tents, family packs and blankets to the victims of the Kashmir earthquake.

The Kashmir earthquake was easily the biggest natural-disaster in Pakistan's history.

Predominantly hitting the Pakistani provinces of Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in October 2005, this 7.6-magnitude earthquake caused the deaths of over 73,000 people. The catastrophe also resulted in the injuries of over 100,000 people.

After a plea from the British High Commissioner Sir Mark Lyall-Grant, The Salvation Army offered representation to the region with team leader Captain Macdonald Chandi, Army Lieut-Colonel Cedric Sharp and International Emergency Services representative Major David Wakefield.  

Driving over 100 km from the Pakistani capital Islamabad to Abbotabad, the team brought 92 tents, 250 family packs (which include rations), plates, cooking utensils, water and 300 blankets to the devastated area.

Captain Chandi described the city as 'totally devastated.'

'Many houses have dropped below the level of the road or into their own land. Cars have been trapped underneath collapsed buildings and not all the remains of people who died have been removed. Masks have to be worn and spraying is going on constantly,' Captain Macdonald Chandi said.

Working in conjunction with the Pakistani military, the team realized that there was need for 200,000 tents. Ultimately, both armies decided that the Salvos should provide camp for 92 families, giving them shelter and food to last a week.  

Major Wakefield said that the area was filled with 'utter destruction, confusion and chaos.'

'The first impression of Balakot was of utter destruction, confusion and chaos. There is hardly a building standing or any space between what was a structure and what might have been a road or lane. There was no evidence of the major non-governmental organizations (NGOs) ... apart from the Red Cross, which had established a field hospital just outside Balakot,' Major Wakefield wrote.

Turmoil: Buildings and roads were damaged by the earthquake.