Kashmir And Pakistan Earthquake
On 8th October 2005, an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale shook Kashmir and vast areas of northern Pakistan, leaving over 75,000 people dead, many more seriously wounded and over 3.5 million people homeless. Within 48 hours of the earthquake, volunteers from the Art of Living Foundation and its sister organization, the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) started material relief operations followed by trauma relief programmes in some of the worst affected areas of Kashmir. Almost 2,000 children and adults participated in these workshops. After the workshops, many people reported better health and wellbeing.
“Until I did the breathing exercises my heart had not stopped pounding, not since the earthquake. Now at last I am at peace.” -Begum Azie, Shaalkot village, Baramullah, Kashmir, October 20, 2005.
Within three months of the quake, two IAHV-The Art of Living Winter Shelters were set up in Srinagar, housing 250 homeless children.
These shelters were later converted to Child Care Centers with a hostel for the students. A school has also been established. In Pakistan, The Art of Living worked in collaboration with other NGOs and the army for restoration of water and electricity supplies. It conducted medical camps and trauma relief sessions for the survivors. The Art of Living also started an innovative project of building low cost quake resistant homes. In response to these initiatives, villagers commented that they felt that life was coming back into their community.