EQ 2005, Lessons For School Safety and A Way Forward.

EQ 2005, Lessons For School Safety and A Way Forward.


The 8 October 2005 earthquake in Kashmir and Pakistan is remembered as one of the deadliest in Pakistan and one of the worst natural disasters in South Asia.

The 7.6 magnitude earthquake killed an estimated 87,000 people, mostly in Pakistan-administered Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and parts of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KPK) province at around 08:56 hrs. At least 17,000 children at school were among the dead, with more than 6,700 schools reduced to rubble. 4 million people were left homeless.

It’s the 8th of October 2005 in Pakistan. A busy morning in most of the country including AJK and KPK. Children have just assembled in their schools and people are rushing to work. It is Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. It is a crisp cool morning. Most people are busy starting their work schedules when the earth beneath them shakes with a strong jolt. The earthquake lasted for several minutes, but it seemed like hours to those experiencing it. In a few minutes it was a scene of utter devastation across towns and cities in AJK and KPK. Cities such as Muzaffarabad, Bagh, Hattian, Battagram were flattened out from end to the other. In Muzaffarabad the capital of AJK Mrs. Naureen a girls college teacher was trapped under the ceiling of the college hall building along with some 300 girls, about half of them dead. She was rescued from the collapsed building by the surviving locals late in the afternoon only to learn that her own house had collapsed and her two teenage children (a boy aged 19 and a girls aged 17) had been buried alive under the rubble. The Pakistan Army was also badly hit in AJK and it was several days before organized help arrived from national and international agencies.

While there had been sizeable local and international support in response to the disaster and many instances of infrastructures rehabilitated. Ten years on, there are many schools where students are still studying outdoors because the schools have not been rebuilt.

HOPE’87 helped rebuild 30 Semi Permanent disaster resilient school rooms in district Bagh of AJK. Ten years on, these temporary shelters are the only buildings that the students call schools.

2 Schools (a Boys and a Girls High School) was provided with permanent disaster resilient school buildings where children continue to learn and are a HOPE for a better future.

Since then HOPE’87 Pakistan is actively working on promotion of school safety and School Based Disaster Risk Management across different areas in Pakistan and endeavors to achieve the Comprehensive Schools Safety Framework (CSSF) targets and goals across Pakistan.