Rochdale MP visits Earthquake Zone!

March 9, 2006 12:39 AM

Paul Rowen MP has just returned from a visit to Azad Kashmir as a member of the All-Party Kashmir Group. The visit was organised by the Pakistan Government to give MP's who represent areas with a large Kashmiri Community an idea of what was happening with the relief effort following the disastrous earthquake last year.

While there, the group met the Prime Minister of Pakistan - Shaukat Aziz, President of Azad Kashmir - Sardar Anwar Khan and the Speaker of the Azaz Kashmir Parliament - Khalid Afrasaif. The main purpose of the visit was to concentrate on the Earthquake Zone and the Relief Effort.

Paul Rowen MP said Kashmir is a very beautiful part of the world, it is a mountainous country which I had visited several times before, however I was shocked by the scale of the devastation and loss of life and limb inflicted upon its people. Whole sides of the mountains had just slipped away and collapsed on houses below them. The Pakistan Government have an ambitious plan of reconstruction, the weather and God seem to be very much on their side as the Winter has been much milder than normal."

Paul continued, "We visited The Thuri Camp in Muzaffarabad as well as a totally destroyed General Hospital. I was impressed however by the recovery organisation. Both the Pakistan Army, the NGO's and Charities like OXFAM and Age Concern are working very closely together. People in Kashmir are full of praise for the support given by the British Government and more importantly British People. I would encourage as many people to continue to raise money and support the relief effort. It will take years and many billions of pounds to put right. I will be organising as part of the Kashmire Group that I am setting up, several events to continue to raise money and awareness the plight of the people affected by the terrible earthquake. The people of Rochdale should be proud of the fundraising that has gone on so far, but I would encourage people to continue their efforts."