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Emergency Relief case study (3)

Fourteen-year-old Zameer saves his baby brother


Among the many children receiving care at the emergency shelter of SOS Children at Rawalpindi are six siblings - four brothers and two sisters from Bagh, Azad Jammu and Kashmir. They have adjusted well to their new surroundings, and their caregivers have said that the younger ones are now happily running around and playing games.

Children at relief camp Kashmir earthquakeBut their story is heartbreaking. Five of the six siblings had been attending school when the 7.6 magnitude Kashmir earthquake struck on 8 October 2005, devastating large areas of northern Pakistan. The youngest sibling, a one-year-old baby, had remained with the mother at home. The mother had been caring for the children on her own following the death of her husband two years earlier.


As soon as the earth stopped shaking, the eldest sibling, fourteen-year-old Zameer, left the school and ran as fast as he could back to his family's house. However, he found nothing but rubble. The house, as most of the others on the street, had collapsed. Zameer said he was so shocked he could not move, instead he just stood there crying.


Then all of a sudden, between his sobs, Zameer heard the faint and feeble cries of his little baby brother from underneath the rubble. He immediately went looking for neighbours, who had also survived the disaster. With their help, Zameer was able to remove the rubble and reach the baby, who had been clinging on to the dead body of the mother. With great difficulty, the group also managed to pull out the mother and bury her.


Zameer and his baby brother met up with the other siblings, who had all survived the earthquake virtually unscathed. The group were given shelter in a tent at one of the emergency camps, before the "search and rescue" teams of SOS Children in Pakistan brought them to the organisation's emergency shelter in Rawalpindi.


Did you know? When a disaster happens, SOS Children is often already working in the area and is ready to start emergency relief.