October 8, 2005 a 7.6 Mw magnitude Earthquake struck at 8:50 am Pakistan Standard Time leaving over 80,000 dead, 100,000 injured and more than two million homeless, the Earthquake ranks among the worst natural disasters in the history of Pakistan and the Indian subcontinent.
The epicentre of the Earthquake was located approximately 15 kilometres north of Muzzaffarabad the administrative capital of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). Most of the damage occurred in AJK and the Mansehra District of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).
World Vision / Builders Without Borders Partnership World Vision Pakistan (“WVP”) has been active in Mansehra District of Northwest Frontier Province (“NWFP”) since 2003 supporting community development, infrastructure rehabilitation and disaster preparedness activities.
Following the Earthquake WVP commenced an 18 month Recovery and Rehabilitation phase, to be followed by a 36 month Reconstruction phase.
Prior to commencing construction, WVP engaged Builders Without Borders to undertake an assessment mission to examine the requirements for rebuilding 80 two and three room schools in the remote Siran Valley region.
Builders Without Borders provided a civil Engineer Bob Culbert and and a structural Engineer Saqib Khan for this three week mission, to the Mansehra District, a region with mountainous terrain and difficult weather conditions.
The Siran Valley rises in elevation from approximately 3,300 feet above sea level at Mansehra rising up to 5,000 feet at Jabori and Sacha Kalan and 6,200 feet at Manda Gucha. The terrain becomes increasingly rugged Northward up the Valley towards the Karakorum Mountains. The climate is characterised by cold winters with snow at higher elevations, mild springs, hot summers with monsoon rains, with cooling through autumn to winter.
School Damage Overview Virtually all school buildings in this region are government built, and every community has an elementary school, even the remote villages. Anecdotal evidence suggests catastrophic damage occurred to a much higher proportion of public schools than nongovernmental buildings in this area. Poor quality of construction and lack of seismic design has been faulted in these building collapses. Most school buildings collapsed either totally or partially.