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Home > News > PTI

Quake victims loot supplies; Pak toll 40,000

K J M Varma in Islamabad | October 10, 2005 21:02 IST
Last Updated: October 10, 2005 23:59 IST


Aid from across the world Monday poured in to Pakistan, which buried the dead and rushed the injured to hospitals as hungry survivors looted food from army convoys and shops, two days after the devastating earthquake that killed at least 40,000 and injured over 42,000.

After intense efforts, Pakistan army cleared key roads leading to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, specially its devastated capital Muzafarabad and other towns as also to North-West Frontier Province for the first time since the 7.6 temblor of Saturday, to rush relief supplies.

Before this, relief work in these areas hit by landslides had to be done through an airbridge involving over 25 helicopters.

Following calls by President Pervez Musharraf, United States President George W Bush rushed eight Chinook cargo choppers, which arrived in Islamabad to reinforce the airbridge and are expected to begin operations Monday night.

The helicopters can lift around 80 people as also the concrete boulders to clear the rubble.

Four more US helicopters from Afghanistan were expected to arrive shortly, officials said. After clearance of the roads, Information Minister Sheikh Rashid appealed to Pakistanis to rush to Muzaffarabad and other areas of POK and NWFP to help people to clear the rubble, remove the dead and save those who were stuck beneath the debris of thousands of destroyed homes and buildings.

Reports reaching Islamabad earlier said that hungry and desperate people looted army trucks, which moved in carrying food, tents, blankets and medicines after a road was opened in Muzaffarabad.

The survivors, who have been without food and water for three days, also clashed with shopkeepers while trying to break open shops.

They also targeted petrol pumps and deserted homes in search of food.

The Pakistani cabinet headed by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, which held its second meeting in as many days to take stock of the dead and injured, announced that the official death toll so far was 20,745 with over 42,000 injured. But the UN officials involved inrelief activities and officials of the PoK administration have put the toll over 40,000 with over 30,000 dead in POK alone.

Pakistan army said it lost 300 soldiers in the quake and 500 others injured.

Musharraf, who revitalised the shocked administration with constant helicopter hops and tours to hospitals, said the scale of the damage was such that Pakistan government was trying to acquire satellite imagery and photographs to identify the damage caused in the remote areas of POK and NWFP where towns and villages have been flattened.

Reporters of local TV networks who managed to reach the affected areas aired complaints from people from various places who said no help has reached them to remove the dead and injured from the rubble and rush to hospitals.

The aftershocks have ceased in most of areas though Muzafarabad experienced one heavy tremor in the afternoon.

The Pakistan Foreign Office stepped up its drive for mobilisation of international assistance by holding a special briefing for Islamabad based foreign diplomats for which the Indian High Commissioner Shivshankar Menon too was invited.

The thrust of the briefing was to appeal for aid to provide housing for over a million displaced persons, officials said.

Dozens of chartered flights from all over the world landed in Pakistani airports bringing relief and rescue teams for the victims.

US increased its aid amount from $ 9 lakhto $ 50 million. Help arrived from UK, Spain, France, Japan, Russia, UAE and Iran.

Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson said Islamabad was overwhelmed by the response.



© Copyright 2005 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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Number of User Comments: 5




Sub: Sharing sympathy

Dear people of POK and other areas hit by Earth Quake Our hearts are with you in your time of affliction.We know it is un ...


Posted by K Samsundaram





Sub: Sad, but still taking political mileage

It is a sad occasion but it looks like even in disaster the APHC and the pakistanis want to take political mileage out of this. ...


Posted by KK





Sub: ITS NATURE

I do have feeling for the ones who have lost life. This quake has occoured in that are where there are militants camps which are ...


Posted by ULLHAS SONTAKE





Sub: Is Musharraf telling lie ???

It is very sorrowful to hear 40000 death in latest quake in POK and pakistan. But here one point to be remember that Musharraf has ...


Posted by Niraj Srivastava





Sub: POK - Voilence and Non Violence

I wonder, why should we support pakistan now, `She` has always been a WORSE Neighbour. Now we should talk about KASHMIR! because Musharuff always used ...


Posted by Rajiv Lodha




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