Pakistan marks 15th anniversary of 2005 earthquake

MANSEHRA: The residents will mark the 15th anniversary of the 2005 earthquake in Balakot tehsil and other parts of Hazara division today (Thursday).

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Traders will close businesses and take out a rally to remember people killed by the 7.6 earthquake.

Trader leader Javed Iqbal told reporters that the 2005 earthquake had destroyed Balakot and claimed over 18,000 lives in the city.

He said people from different walks of life, including those, who lost family members to the natural calamity, would take part in special prayer ceremonies at mass graves in the Government High School.

Special prayer ceremonies were held in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Jammu and Kashmir, and Balakot, a city in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.

The two cities bore the brunt of the devastating 7.6-magnitude earthquake on Oct. 8, 2005. Its epicenter was 19 kilometers (some 12 miles) northeast of Muzaffarabad.

Pakistan’s government marked Thursday as “National Resilience Day,” with a minute of silence observed in all district headquarters at 8:54 a.m. (0354GMT), the moment the quake struck in the Himalayan region in northern Pakistan and Kashmir.

According to the National Disaster Management Authority, a state-run coordination agency, some 87,350 people, including 19,000 children, lost their lives in the disaster, with over 138,000 more injured.

More than 500,000 families were affected and some 3.5 million people left homeless, with the quake damaging over 780,000 buildings, including 17,000 schools and many hospitals.

Around 250,000 farm animals perished in the disaster, according to the agency.

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