We heard about this within an hour of the event yesterday, the news media is still catching up. Still very little idea of how many in my community were affected by this. Initial word of mouth reports are that every buildng is damaged. EVERY. Many shops and businesses destrroyed. Still the toll in terms of human life is far higher:
A powerful earthquake centered in the Hindu Kush mountains of Pakistan on Saturday morning sent tremors across South Asia, killing more than 18,000 people, including at least 1,600 in remote northern Pakistan, among them hundreds across both sides of disputed Kashmir, and shaking houses and high-rises throughout the region.
Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, Pakistan's chief army spokesman, who announced the toll on Sunday, said at least 45,000 people had been injured, a vast majority on the Pakistani side of Kashmir. He said that "so far there are many areas which have not been reached" by the army, but that military units were expected to reach all of them by the end of the day.
It registered 7.6 on the Richter scale. We have many close friends and family in the region affectedd by this earthquake, and do dua that they are saved from tragedy.
UPDATE: While Zack's relatives seem to have come through, Haroon also still has friends and family unnaccounted for, as does Thabet. He also notes that the initial offer of aid from the US was rather miniscule; I counsel patience, as with the tsunami the amount of aid given by the American people always becomes a force unto its own. The amount the federal givernment offers is irrelevant. The expat community of Pakistanis in America will send vast sums to be sure; what is needed far more than merely money to the Patriarch's coffers, but the kind of material aid that the Red Cross and other organizations can deliver on the ground. You can't feed dollars to your children.
You can donate to victims of the earthquake via the International Red Cross. More information on how to help is here. There's also a Quake Wiki. Also see the BBC's excellent quake coverage, they have devoted an entire section to it for the latest information.
UPDATE: $50 million dollars pledged from the US.