Ever since the quake, most people I know, as well as myself, have been glued to the screen, listening to the news and watching mostly the same images of the devastation, over and over again. Although somehow, I’ve managed to keep my sanity and am trying to do what I can to help the victims, my friends and a lot of other people are showing signs of severe stress, depression and even mass-hysteria. The constant aftershocks made it even worse for them.
Strange rumours have been going around causing a certain amount of panic. People seem to be open to anything that they’re told without verifying the information. Just this morning, before day-break, I got an SMS that a severe earthquake is predicted in 45 minutes. Upon further inquiry, I found out that this was announced at a local mosque, without any evidence to support it. And as expected, nothing happened. Actually, I was asleep within half an hour of the message.
I have been arguing with people who believe that some kind of “reversal” will happen anytime soon, bigger than the initial quake and one that will flatten Islamabad. No amount of convincing through detailed articles by experts and basic geology stopped them from deciding to move immediately to a city such as Lahore, leaving their current jobs and lives behind. I’m glad they eventually decided not to.
As predicted by meteorologists, the aftershocks are subsiding and people are regaining their wits. They are starting to divert their energies towards the relief effort, though the rumours are still spreading. The latest doomsday prediction is that a vent is opening up and that a volcano will soon emerge somewhere around Islamabad. What rubbish.
All I can say is that those who start these types of rumours at such a time really are despicable. They divert attention from where it is urgently needed and cause unnecessary trauma to everyone. And dear people, please don’t believe everything you hear. Use your head and verify the information first.
I would also request the media to refute such nonsense and do more to keep people calm and orderly. Up till now, they have done an excellent job of keeping everyone informed and this would be a great thing to add.
And thank you CNN for reading my blog on air.