Earthquake Facts
The massive earthquake that hit Azad Jammu and Kashmir and parts of eastern NWFP (mainly Hazara) on October 8, has reportedly killed over 50,000 persons, injured tens of thousands, and left three million homeless in Pakistan and India, is unfortunately going to set back education and literacy in the region by decades. Out of the worst affected areas, literacy levels in AJK and parts of Abbotabad and Mansehra districts were higher than the national average while Kohistan was just the opposite, with the one of the highest levels of illiteracy.
Though the government so far has not released exact figures of the number of dead schoolchildren and teachers (and many believe that its official death toll of 25,000 also seems a bit conservative), it is feared that thousands of schoolchildren and teachers must have died. As the ISPR spokesman, Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan on one of the days following the quake, the magnitude of the tragedy is such that it may be fair to say that the region has lost a whole generation of young children and students.
The timing of the earthquake couldn’t have been worse — it struck at 8.50 in the morning, just about the time when schools and colleges in the region would have been in full swing. Had it happened on a Sunday perhaps the death toll — at least in terms of dead schoolchildren — may have been lower but that all may seem irrelevant now.

According to an NWFP minister, around 7,000 school buildings in that province alone have been destroyed or badly damaged. As for AJK, the buildings housing classrooms and dormitories of the University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir are said to have all collapsed killing hundreds. The university has over 1,200 students on its rolls and over 250 teachers. It has campuses in Muzaffarabad which has been destroyed and one in Rawalakot as well, though the state of that remains so far unknown.
In Balakot, the newly-built Government Degree College in Hassa near the town collapsed and at least 150 bodies were retrieved from it. The Government Degree College for Girls had 300 students while the Government High School had around 1,000 students and the International Islamia Model School 600. A British rescue worker was quoted in a Reuters news report as saying that 900 students were killed in one school alone. There were two other (most likely in the private sector) institutions as well, Shaheen Girls Degree College and Shaheen Boys Commerce
College, which collapsed as well and both had enrolment running into the hundreds. Balakot also has a primary school and according to one report out of 175 students only 25 were left alive.