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Earthquake: Search for survivors calls off
Updated: 2005-10-15 09:04

Rescue workers abandoned the search Friday for survivors trapped in the rubble of last week's earthquake, though individual efforts continued, with an 18-month-old girl pulled out alive from the ruins of her home.

Pakistani rescue workers remove a dead body from rubble of 10-story apartment building that collapsed in the 7.6 magnitude earthquake a day earlier, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2005 in Islamabad, Pakistan.  [AP]

A top U.N. official warned that reconstruction of the devastated region will cost billions of dollars and take up to a decade, and the United Nations increased its appeal for quake aid to $312 million. Weather forecasters said heavy rains expected in the quake zone this weekend could disrupt efforts to provide food and shelter to an estimated 2 million people ahead of the harsh Himalayan winter.

With Pakistan's death toll from the Oct. 8 earthquake estimated at more than 35,000, Jan Egeland, the U.N. undersecretary-general and emergency relief coordinator, said the search-and-rescue phase was now over. "It's a cruel reality. But after a week, very few people survive," he said.

Still, a doctor, Mazhar Hussain, told Pakistan's GEO television and the British Broadcasting Corp. that his rescue team had pulled the toddler, unconscious but alive, from under the door of her collapsed house, which had protected her. Her mother and two brothers were found dead nearby, but her father survived.

"Her right hand is broken and she has a fracture in her left leg," he said on GEO, speaking from Balimang in the North-West Frontier Province, where the girl was found.

Egeland, who traveled to hard-hit areas, said he feared bottlenecks of relief supplies.

"If we don't work together, we will become a disaster within a disaster," he said. He said it would take billions of dollars and "five to 10 years" to rebuild.

With few survivors expected, the focus of the U.N. shifted to the relief operation.
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