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Discuss about the Case Study of Pakistan Earthquake in 2005.

Description of the Context

Earthquakes are overwhelming common natural disasters that results to significant loss of lives and damages billions of dollars of property. In the recent years, different countries have seen several devastating earthquakes like 2005 Pakistan earthquake, 2008-Wenchuan earthquake, 2010 Haitian earthquake, 2010 Japanese earthquakes and 2015 napalms earthquake (Shaffer, 2018). The earthquakes resulted to damage of local eco-system environments and buildings, psychological trauma of survivors and massive loss of lives. In order to prevent the massive damages of properties and lives, different organizations came up with reconstruction strategies to reconstruct the nation again and curb similar damages in future. Furthermore, there have been increase in earthquake research raising societal awareness of why it is necessary to reduce significantly the effects of potential earthquakes. Therefore, the paper seeks to study the reconstruction mission of FRC in 2005 post- disasters, challenges, failures and lesson learned from the disaster.

The Kashmir earthquake occurred in 2005 at 08.05.39 Pakistan standard time in the Pakistan-administered areas of Kashmir (Britannica, 2018). The epicenter of the magnitude 7.6 quakes was approximately sixty-five miles northeast of Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital city. Despite earthquakes affecting Pakistan, it also affected neighboring regions of Afghanistan, Chinese Xinjiang and Tajikistan (Mulvey et al., 2008). The overall severity of damage was considered as the deadliest earthquake to ever hit South Asia. Furthermore, more than sixty-nine thousand people were injured and at least eighty-six thousand killed (Yasir, 2009). Over 600,000 houses, 6,400 km of road network, 6,298 education facilities, 350 health facilities, 3,994 water supply systems and 949 government buildings were destroyed (Macleod, 2018). In general, three million people in Pakistan lost were displaced and lost their homes (Halvorson & Parker Hamilton, 2010). Furthermore, with the disaster occurring in the winter, survivors faced a great challenge of surviving in cold mountains without a place to call home. Therefore, the circumstances of these massive losses of property and relief called upon RFC to launch their rescue mission.

The RFC post-disaster reconstruction main mission was to reinstate the survivors of the earthquake disaster to their normal lives. The reconstruction mission also provided both financial and psychological support to homeless people and looked for the best strategies of preventing such massive damage upon the occurrence of other earthquakes in the future (United Nations, 2018). Furthermore, the after the oucomes of the disaster, RFC collaborated with many international organizations, nations, and non-governmental organizations in supporting the victims by offering a relief aid in form of donations and relief supplies that included  tents, blankets, mattresses, food,  shelters and medical supplies. In addition, World health organization (WHO) and United Nations (UN) in partnership with RFC sent relief and workers to the affected areas. The organizations collaborated with Pakistan military who was in charge of coordinating the emergency response from the government to look for survivors and assemble them in aid camps.

RFC’s mission was successful due to several factors like coordination between different organizations, materialistic support from other nations and cooperation that existed between rescuers and survivors. Through materialistic support like disaster helicopters, ambulances and jets from other nations and hosts, RFC transported evacuated wounded victims to healthcare and other supplies to different affected regions as infrastructures were completely damaged. Furthermore, through the proper utilization of the available resources helped the RFC TO attain its core mission of rescuing and reinstating victims in different regions of Pakistan.

Description of Mission/Project

 The contingency plan that was put in place by some prefectures long before the earthquake occurred allowed the RFC to respond quickly after the disaster. Furthermore, RFC collaborated with UNESCO to provide the advisory services and technical assistance for urgent assessment of damages and mitigation of loses. RFC also supported international partners, national authorities, professionals and civil society organizations in their efforts of sustaining reconstructions.

The success of the RFC’s mission reinstated many survivors to their homes and further provided health support to the victims who were suffering different types of illness because of exposure to harsh weather conditions. Furthermore, with the economy of Pakistan destroyed significantly the collaboration of nations to support the nations significantly boosted the nation's economy. The schools and hospitals were restored back and there were no waves of deaths experienced indicated an improved rate of cold infections as compared to the previous periods before the disaster. Furthermore, the success led to 350,000 IDP being housed over the winter (United Nations, 2018).

The RFC faced several challenges and failures including lack of support from government officials, lack of coordination with other organizations and agencies and lack of enough security personnel like police officers and military to manage the disaster.

Lack of coordination was a great challenge with the available military being unfamiliar with humanitarian principles and lacking experiences of working with RFC and other Non-governmental organizations. Furthermore, after the disaster most of the government officials died, others were still in shock and trauma and others had a busy schedule of attending to their injured relatives and deceased. The unavailable of these government official resulted to shortages of resources and support that was needed for RFC to run the mission effectively.

The challenges slowed down the post-disaster reconstruction mission of responding urgently to the disaster and reinstating the victims. The challenges completely interfered with peer collaboration with World food program (WFP) seeking to exclude some NGO’s as the communication barriers caused misunderstanding of needs and capacities of victims. However, the challenges exposed some loopholes that existed in RFCs and need to be addressed. In addition, vulnerabilities like militaries lacking experience in handling humanitarian functionalities created a room for trainings.

Key successes were observed whereby the FRC had within days taken charge of the situation. According to Rathore et al. (2008) the collapse of the civil order, the harsh weather conditions and the disaster scale in the areas which were affected called for a mechanism of response which was in a position of providing a quick method of making decisions and executing directives efficiently on the ground. The commission implemented and conceived a plan for national action that was elaborate in ensuring coherent end-states, policies, spelling out domains and a response to all the key players and stakeholders. In addition, the action plan provided compensation of finances for all people who survived the disaster which accumulated to several billion rupees (Sullivan & Hossain, 2010).

Synchronization and coordination of inter-agencies of efforts of relief were maintained through strategic meetings of the group leaders which integrated the United Nations cluster approach into the strategy implemented by the FRC, with an aim for the development of a common picture for operation and guidelines for each concerned agency. Within the FRC, two wings were distinct, the civilian and the military. The military was tasked with responsibilities of undertaking relief and rescue operations, while the civilian wing was comprised of ministerial coordinators and representatives and had the responsibility of looking after inter-agency and inter-department issues (Ehring, Razik, & Emmelkamp, 2011).

Project Successes

Key challenges were faced during the response including maintenance of law and order, slow response to the disaster, lack of helipads and runways for aircraft and helicopters offering assistance and poor management of the consequences. A four-fold strategy was undertaken, which comprised of reconstruction and rehabilitation and recovery, consequence management, rescue and relief, and search. The FRC’s operations were focused on relief, rescue and search, while the second agency was focused on addressing reconstruction and rehabilitation needs, with the second agency being the Earthquake Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (ERRA). Various simultaneous activities for relief were instantly activated due to the resource constraints which included the provision of relief goods, medical help, damage control and evacuating the injured.

Additional response elements included management of the people who were displaced, economic and social fallout and the address on psychosocial trauma. There was a strict maintenance of law and order whereby the civic order was restored. Throughout the mission, the government’s vision and leadership ensured the provision of impetus to the FRC, the republic, donors, foreign governments and concerned government departments including the armed forces. Voluntary organizations and the world community were generous, including the international organizations, men and women and the work of volunteers (Ali et al., 2012). Specifically, donors offered assistance and support in the provision of relief to the victims of the earthquake. In addition, the spontaneous outpouring of generosity and compassion by the Pakistan people was a great success. Altogether, voluntary relief workers to local NGO’s, the Pakistan diaspora and soldiers assisted the mission. Furthermore, the army in the Pakistan armed forces provided the backbone of the efforts for relief with a high degree of implementation, execution, coordination and cooperation. In responding to the earthquake, the world community provided relief items including water filtration plants, engineering equipment, field hospitals and helicopters thus offering assistance to the earthquake-affected people of Pakistan (Basharat et al., 2014).

Solutions that are people-centered must be found so as to overcome the challenges in future. According to Benini et al. (2009) all people worldwide should remind themselves constantly that the recovery path is not their responsibility to its determination, but for the victims of the disaster who experienced the losses and suffered greatly. Also, all local United Nations and Non-Governmental Organizations should be registered whereby the information should be updated regularly to avoid keeping of information that is outdated. Disaster response knowledge should also be increased among the general public and within the society.

New strategies should also be developed for preparedness to disaster and be considered. It was also noted that there was great inaccessibility to the disaster-prone areas with links to roads being difficult to access, therefore, landing strips for aircraft and helipads for helicopters should be constructed in areas that are prone to disasters especially earthquakes, whereby enhanced radar communication for aircraft should be assured. According to Amin and Han (2009) mechanisms which are appropriate should be established to enhance the tracking down of the flow of aid from the source to the end-users and the information publication should be maintained as it is crucial to transparency.

Project Challenges and Failures

The media should also be taken on board for data sharing, continuous interaction and the provision of access to the general public through live broadcasts of the catastrophe (Chan, 2009). Furthermore, United Nations adequate funding is critical and should be enhanced for the enablement of an international response that is swift. Moreover, the decision making process should be very swift whereby district and provincial leaders must coordinate and cooperate in the execution of their roles. Where it adds delay, red tape should also be cut through. All stakeholders including donors and international organizations should be taken into the confidence of the government. Lastly, there should be an agency for disaster management that operates full time and has contingency plans for an effective and quick response to disasters like earthquakes (Buttenheim, 2009). Therefore, ad hoc arrangements should be avoided as they may not work in all circumstances.


After such a massive disaster, it will take Pakistan decades for reconstruction although the victims remain hopeful and grateful. The victims have continued with their daily lives, adults have been busy rebuilding and preserving their lives which were shattered and children attend school. Somehow, the faith of the victims has remained strong, with a sense of peace showing on their faces. Although the natives have so far not been emotionally strong, physically, they are able and fit to move on with their lives and accept the occurrences and losses of the disaster. What is important for the victims is moving on with life and try to reconstruct the lost glory of Pakistan and be in a position to handle such disasters in future.

The Pakistan people have since been aware that the sustained over-dependence on foreign aid to get back on their feet may not bear fruits and that as the winter moves in, many more lives may be lost in the process. In the process of the earthquake and reconstruction mission, Kashmir lost a large part of its generation, so the victims and other residents at large need to be adaptable to change. The Pakistan country learned its lesson the hard way, with the victims understanding that to rebuild their lives, a long and tedious process is underway filled with ups and downs.


Ali, M., Farooq, N., Bhatti, M. A., & Kuroiwa, C. (2012). Assessment of prevalence and determinants of posttraumatic stress disorder in survivors of earthquake in Pakistan using Davidson Trauma Scale. Journal of affective disorders, 136(3), 238-243.

Amin, M. T., & Han, M. Y. (2009). Water environmental and sanitation status in disaster relief of Pakistan’s 2005 earthquake. Desalination, 248(1-3), 436-445.

Basharat, M., Rohn, J., Baig, M. S., & Khan, M. R. (2014). Spatial distribution analysis of mass movements triggered by the 2005 Kashmir earthquake in the Northeast Himalayas of Pakistan. Geomorphology, 206, 203-214.

Benini, A., Conley, C., Dittemore, B., & Waksman, Z. (2009). Survivor needs or logistical convenience? Factors shaping decisions to deliver relief to earthquake?affected communities, Pakistan 2005–06. Disasters, 33(1), 110-131.

Britannica. (2018). Kashmir earthquake of 2005. Retrieved from

Buttenheim, A. (2009). Impact evaluation in the post-disaster setting: A conceptual discussion in the context of the 2005 Pakistan earthquake (No. 2009-5). International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie).

Chan, E. Y. (2009). Why are older peoples' health needs forgotten post-natural disaster relief in developing countries? A healthcare provider survey of 2005 Kashmir, Pakistan earthquake. American journal of disaster medicine, 4(2), 107-112.

Ehring, T., Razik, S., & Emmelkamp, P. M. (2011). Prevalence and predictors of posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and burnout in Pakistani earthquake recovery workers. Psychiatry research, 185(1-2), 161-166.

Halvorson, S. J., & Parker Hamilton, J. (2010). In the aftermath of the Qa'yamat: 1 the Kashmir earthquake disaster in northern Pakistan. Disasters, 34(1), 184-204.

Macleod, A. (2018). Early recovery from disaster: the Pakistan earthquake | Forced Migration Review. Retrieved from

Mulvey, J. M., Awan, S. U., Qadri, A. A., & Maqsood, M. A. (2008). Profile of injuries arising from the 2005 Kashmir earthquake: the first 72 h. Injury, 39(5), 554-560.

Nations, U. (2018). Pakistan 2005 Earthquake: Early recovery framework - With preliminary costs of proposed interventions - Pakistan. Retrieved from

Rathore, F. A., Farooq, F., Muzammil, S., New, P. W., Ahmad, N., & Haig, A. J. (2008). Spinal cord injury management and rehabilitation: highlights and shortcomings from the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation, 89(3), 579-585.

Shaffer, A. (2018). Retrieved from

Sullivan, K. M., & Hossain, S. M. (2010). Earthquake mortality in Pakistan. Disasters, 34(1), 176-183.

Yasir, A. (2009). The political economy of disaster vulnerability: A case study of Pakistan earthquake 2005.

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