By Shabbir Mir
GILGIT: Heading home after a long day from school on October 26, eight-year-old Muhammad Kashif’s life was about to suffer a cruel twist of fate. Within minutes, he was caught in a landslide triggered by the October 26 earthquake and is now battling for survival.
A resident of Thoi village in Yaseen Valley, Gilgit-Baltistan, the boy lost his father who died of electrocution a year ago. Ever since, it has been an uphill journey for the family in monetary terms. This accident was the last thing they needed.
“He lost consciousness ever since the incident a month ago and never regained it,” Naeem Anwar, a relative, told The Express Tribune on Saturday.
He is one of the injured children shifted by the Gilgit-Baltistan government to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Science (PIMS) the day after the quake hit. “The boy remained at PIMS for a month, but remained unconscious,” Anwar added.
As the family has exhausted all its financial resources in his treatment, the eight-year-old is now back in Gilgit.
Another relative said doctors advised them to take Kashif back as treatment in his hometown is more cost-effective. He revealed the government provided Rs50,000 to the family, apart from travel expenses, for the eight-year-old’s treatment. However, the amount was not enough to keep the victim in an expensive city like the federal capital.
“The situation is now distressing as the family has exhausted all its resources and is unable to continue the treatment.” He asked philanthropists to support the family in this hour of need. At least 14 people were killed and dozens others injured when the 7.5 magnitude earthquake shook the region in October.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2015.