Nature Reports on the Lifting of the UN Ban on Pakistan Satellite Imagery
South Asia Quake Help has Set Up an SMS Line

Pakistan: "Not Enough Tents in the World"

The Daily Times in Pakistan has this completely boggling line in the leadup to one of its articles:

UN says not enough tents in the world for survivors

Here's a screen shot of the page so you can get the full flavor:


In some of these places, it gets cold at night at this time of year. People's houses were destroyed; they have only the clothes on their backs. I have been looking at's situation map dated yesterday and while it provides useful informtaion, what I find most notable is what isn't there. There is much too little information for the population density.

This morning, there were two aftershocks (see also this link) in the area of Allai Tehsil, where a Mapaction map says that there are 44 villages; one aftershock measured 5.6 on the Richter scale, the other 5.8, (not to mention a 5.2 that I just noticed a few miles away). South Asian Media Net has a chilling story entitled All roads to Balakot, what of the others. It discusses the area I just mentioned:

Pasho, Tandool, Jambera, Gateela, Bathkool and Banna areas in Allai tehsil were not approached by the rescuers and relief organizations.

You've probably never heard of Allai Tehsil. Neither had I. Except I've been looking at a small area of aftershocks I've come to refer to as the "Eggtooth Quadrant." And I wanted to know whether the area was inhabited and what the population density is/was. I call it that because watching the aftershocks come in on the USGS list is like watching a baby chick trying to peck its way out of an egg. As I remarked on October 9th, "It's like a set-up for a Japanese monster movie: what ever's in there has got an awfully big egg tooth!" At the time I wrote that, there had been 19 earthquakes in a fairly small area. As I write this, there have been twenty-nine aftershocks in the quadrant defined by the coordinates 34.865, 72.974), (34.865,73.302), (34.56, 72.974), (34.56, 73,302); 26 of which are 5.0 and up, the largest at 6.3.


This screen shot doesn't show scale, but some of these epicenters are walking-distance apart. Purple = 4.0 - 4.9; turquoise = 5.0 - 5.9; blue (1L) is 6.0 - 6., in this case a 6.3. The brown marker is a village or town I can see on the satellite image. I don't have a name. On the population map I'm looking at, Allai Tehsil (44 villages ) is about where marker 17 is [Magnitude 5.6 Date-Time Wednesday, October 19, 2005 at 03:16:21 (UTC)]

I have yet to see an earthquake damage map that takes these aftershocks into account. Because of lack of communications, it is hard to know whet the effect is there: At very least, these aftershocks have been discouraging people from occupying what buildings remained standing after the big quake; this in a situation where there is little in the way of alternative shelter and at least in some parts no aid is flowing in, meaning few if any tents. Also, this area  grades upwards into the mountains. In a piece I blogged a while back, Indian seismologist Arun Bapat remarks, "Seismic vibrations have more amplitude at higher elevations." What can this mean about the impact of these aftershocks on the local population?

MEANWHILE, from the areas with which it is possible to be in contact, I have received a set of photos from The Citizens Foundation, which I have postd on my Flickr account.

Also, from Rehan of Super Technologies Inc., Pensacola, Florida, I received the following note:

We have created a small portal for interconnecting different organisations who are trying to help in Pakistan to different people, Please have a look at it, and let others  know about it.

Again the aim is to be more organised using the net and telephony as much as we  can. site is and a tiki is on

It has been 3 days only since we started it so its not really the best, but we are trying our best and are open to suggestions.

Today, the official death toll has risen to 79,000. I expect it to go much higher, given the extent to which affected areas have not yet been reached and the living conditions of the survivors. Think about it: Not enough tents in the world.

Meanwhile, the entire matter has fallen almost completely off the front page of the New York Times website. To scan down their front page just now is to see a world in which the earthquake never happened. There is a tiny squib about "Pride and Politics After Quake." I missed it the first time through.

10/20 UPDATE: From the front page of the BBC site (which hasn't forgotten that there was an earthquake):