Over 10,000 tents needed for quake victims in Jammu region: Azad

Srinagar: Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said Saturday that more than 10,000 tents would be needed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda, Kishtwar and Bhaderwah districts to accommodate people whose homes have suffered massive damage because of the recent temblor.

An earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale had jolted the state Wednesday in which maximum damage was caused in these three districts of the Jammu region. Aftershocks have since been regularly occurring there.

“Maximum damage has been caused in the areas of Doda, Kishtwar and Bhaderwah and we need over 10,000 tents to accommodate people displaced by the recent earthquake in these areas,” Azad told reporters here.

He called for a coordinated effort between the central and state governments for reconstruction of the damaged structures.

“The need of the hour is to see how relief is provided to the affected people. The government and administration should work towards that end at all levels,” said Azad, who himself belongs to Bhaderwah district and took stock of the damage there.

He was accompanied by Shashidhar Reddy, vice chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and a team of officers.

“Among the areas we visited, Gandoh and Bhalessa tehsils have been hit the hardest. 70 to 85 percent residential houses and government buildings have been damaged due to the earthquake at these places”, Azad said.

He also disclosed that the earthquake had caused much more damage than had been reported earlier.

“Earlier reports of damage caused by the earthquake in Bhaderwah, Gandoh and Thatri (areas of Doda) indicated far less damage than has actually been caused there,” he said.

“As the chairman of the national Red Cross committee, I have provided 1,000 tents but we need 5,000 to 10,000 tents to cater to the entire affected population.

He said the response from the state administration has not been at par with the level of destruction caused by the earthquake.

“Aftershocks in the region have instilled fear among the people and they are not willing to live inside the houses which have suffered partial damage.

“The district administration has formed teams which will visit all the panchayats and villages in the affected areas. The areas they have been able to cover so far is only one-fourth of the total affected areas,” he said.

He said school buildings had suffered extensive damage and only 10 percent of the schools are safe for students.

-IANS

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