Pakistan

UNICEF-supported documentary reveals South Asia quake’s effects on children

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF Pakistan/2006/Bacca
The makers of ‘Pakistan 7.6’ cover the effect of the South Asia earthquake on children in the region.
By Anis Salem

DOHA, Qatar, 15 May 2006 – A documentary film about children living in the aftermath of last October’s devastating earthquake in South Asia has won a top award.

Around 73,000 people were killed in the disaster, half of them children. The film, ‘Pakistan 7.6’ – shot with logistical support from UNICEF shortly after the earthquake – focuses on some of the 3.3 million people who survived but were left homeless just weeks ahead of a bitter winter.

The production was sparked by a conversation between Jazeera Children's Channel (JCC) Director Mohamed Bunab and the staff at UNICEF’s Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa. Mr. Bunab said he wanted to send a crew to the region to cover the disaster’s impact on children and asked whether UNICEF could help.

A few days later, a JCC crew was airborne. The 26-minute documentary resulting from the mission won the Golden Award at this year’s Jazeera International Television Production Festival.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF Pakistan/2006
A boy who survived the devastating earthquake in South Asia last October is filmed by a documentary crew from the Jazeera Children’s Channel.
Children recount quake’s effects

The director of ‘Pakistan 7.6’, Elyes Bacca, recalls that the situation on the ground was challenging. Helicopter transport was giving priority to relief personnel and supplies, and accommodation was difficult to find. It was much colder than the crew expected but they persevered, inspired by the sturdiness and quiet resolve of the survivors – particularly the children. Mr. Bacca remembers a young boy called Nadim who attached himself to the crew and soon became their translator.

From Balakot to Muzaffarabad, the documentary captures the plight of children trapped by the wreckage of the worst natural disaster to hit Pakistan, revealing their palpable fear of the unknown.

Children interviewed in the documentary recount, often with anxiety and despair, the earthquake that struck on 8 October, registering at 7.6 on the Richter scale. Other youngsters in the film gather under the cold winter sky with books on their laps, studying and anticipating a bright future despite their difficulties.

In one memorable sequence, the camera follows patiently as a very young girl tries to carry a  water container through a camp. The load is heavy and keeps slipping off her head, but she continues her trip. In other segments, a young boy sits among graves and points to the burial place of each member of his family, and children wander amid the rubble of what used to be their classroom.


 

 

Video

15 May 2006:
Watch scenes from the award-winning documentary, ‘Pakistan 7.6’.
VIDEO high | low

New enhanced search