In 2005 a really devastating earthquake happened in Pakistan, which meant loss of about 80,000 lives and something like 400,000 families were displaced because everything collapsed around them. And it was a most horrific period for all of us in the country, but also I think all around the world it had these repercussions because people are just shocked to see what happened. It probably was the first major earthquake of a kind after which climate change... the impact of it became more apparent. And so at that time everybody in Pakistan wherever he or she was wanted to just go up there and help out and the same happened to me as well.
I remember that I was sitting in the Lahore Fort World Heritage site because I was acting as... I was there as UNESCO's national advisor, and the news came... and there was just no way that I could get to the earthquake area fast enough; because I just packed up from Lahore Fort, I came to Karachi and I said to my husband "I've got to go there". And he thought I was a bit crazy because I'd never done that kind of work before, and nobody knew what an architect could do in such circumstances. We needed doctors, obviously, because you know, we had people who were injured, and there were people... the lifesavers were to lift people out of debris and so on. But what could an architect do? And I had no idea, but I just felt compelled to be there. And so my husband said "OK this is 500,000 rupees, and, and just see what you can do with it". Even at that time it was not such a lot of money, but that was all that he thought I should really go with. He thought I'll just come back in about a week or 10 days, and that was it.
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