On 8 October 2005 Pakistan was struck by the most devastating earthquake in its history. Affecting an area of some 30,000 sq. km, largely in Azad Kashmir and the North-West Frontier Province, it caused over 73,000 deaths, left many more people seriously injured, and destroyed homes, schools, hospitals and infrastructure on a massive scale.
Azfar Rizvi was a popular morning show anchor with TVONE when news of the earthquake hit the airwaves. He immediately convened a meeting of this team and decided to go down to the devastated region to gather first hand information, and arrange for relief activities. He stayed in Balakot for over eight weeks covering the rescue and relief activities. He managed to penetrate in the most remote regions and became the first reporter on many areas leveled by the earthquake and the subsequent landslides.
“Speaking to some of the folks involved in the rescue and rehabilitation efforts on the ground near Gari Habibullah shed light on the magnitude of destruction and the task at hand. Especially speaking to Faisal Jawad and Abdul Jawad was very enlightening and I can’t thank them enough for their service and support”
‘Hope Floats’ is a series of documentaries based on my travels through the region and the relief activities I coordinated from ground. Series includes interviews from UNDP officials, Army personnel, doctors, survivors and volunteers. I went along on dangerous, often unchartered terrain air dropping relief supplies from Bell 412 helicopters. Miracles kept happening every day. Four children, aged between a few months and nine years, were pulled alive out of the rubble eight days after the landslide leveled their home.
Eid and Christmas came to the calamity ridden region simultaneously. With the support provided my our television network TV ONE, we organized a children’s carnival in collaboration with the local people, the Security forces, UNDP, UNHCR and UNICEF officials .