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Quake kills more than 18,000 in South Asia
Updated: 2005-10-09 18:10

A powerful earthquake flattened entire villages of mud-brick homes, triggered landslides and toppled a 10-story apartment building on Saturday, killing more than 18,000 people as it devastated a mountainous swath touching Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.

Pakistani soldiers carry the victims of earthquake-affected area of Pakistani controlled Kashmir, after their arrival at Chaklala air base in Rawalpindi, Pakistan on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2005. The death toll from a huge earthquake that struck Pakistan, India and Afghanistan rose above 18,000 on Sunday, the Pakistani army spokesman said, as rescuers struggled to dig victims from destroyed apartment buildings, schools and mud-brick homes. [AP]

Pakistan's private Aaj television reported the Pakistani death toll had jumped to 25,000. But the report, which included casualties in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, gave no source for its figures and there was no immediate confirmation from Pakistani officials but they have said the toll will rise.

The casualty toll from the 7.6-magnitude tremor rose sharply Sunday as rescuers struggled to dig people from the wreckage, their work made more difficult as rain and hail turned dirt and debris into sticky muck.

Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, Pakistan's chief army spokesman said early Sunday that more than 18,000 had been killed — 17,000 of them in Pakistani Kashmir, where the quake was centered. Some 41,000 people were injured, he said.

"The death toll is gradually rising," Sultan told The Associated Press. He said authorities had counted the bodies.
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