Earthquake has shaken the country to its core. More than 20,000 are feared dead and the toll is rising. This is by far the severest quake in the history of Pakistan registering 7.6 on the rector scale. The Northern Pakistan including the capital, Islamabad are devastated. Many small towns and villages have been flattened to the ground. And landslides as a result of series of earthquakes have washed away roads thus making it inaccessible for rescuers to get anywhere in time. Pakistan is going through one of its worst disasters ever.
Fazal Elahi, an elderly man in town of Mansehra (North of Pakistan) had to travel 46km to reach a hospital to get treatment for himself and his injured family. He had to traverse through roads washed out by land slides and pass through flattened villages and cities. When he did reach the hospital, he found 8 doctors administering over 800 patients who were streaming from all over to get some help. His daughter could not make it through and died before they reached the hospital.
The story is repeated again and again and the devastation just continues. More closer to my home, in Islamabad, an apartment complex collapsed into a rubble trapping many inside. The complex was less than a mile from my home and cause of great concern for me. In fact, I have friends living there and am deeply worried for their welfare. I did get a chance to talk to Khadijja, my ex-colleague from United Nations. She mentioned that her family is safe but the apartment and everything inside is gone. Her brother, Shahnawaz, who was in the apartment at the time, (on 10th floor) ran out as soon as the tremors began. He saw the whole structure collapse with his own eyes.
I think it is high time we put technology to work. With no doctors and health facilities how can we expect the poor to get any help. With roads being washed out by landslides, how can the rescuers get to the needy in time. Technology, is one solution that can get them healthcare when it is needed. It may not be a solution to all the problems, but it is a start. A promising start, that may one day make disaster relief quicker and more effective. Be it New Orleans, or Islamabad. Be it Baghdad or London, we need technology to assist us in helping the victims of natural disasters.