38,000 dead in Pakistan from quake
Updated: 2005-10-15 14:56
MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan - The region's massive earthquake killed 38,000
people in Pakistan, injured 62,000 and left 3.3 million homeless, Interior
Minister Aftab Sherpao has told AFP, raising the death toll by 13,000.
"There are 38,000 dead in the earthquake," Sherpao said.
The figure of homeless was far up from the
previous estimate of 2.5 million. Officials had earlier put the death toll at
25,000 and the injured at 63,000.
An injured Kashmiri
woman waits for medicine after treatment to her head and eye at a
makeshift medical center set up in Tandali village, some 20 kilometers
from Muzaffarabad. The UN's top relief official warned of a 'disaster
within a disaster' due to the crush of quake aid pouring into Pakistan.
The October 8 earthquake, which registered 7.6 on the Richter scale, also
ravaged the Indian side of divided Kashmir, killing 1,329 people there,
according to Indian police.
International aid has only just started to trickle through the Himalayan
foothills of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, the epicentre of the 7.6-magnitude
quake that shook the region on October 8.
Mountainsides have collapsed, taking villages and roads with them, while
cities such as Muzaffarabad, the capital of the Pakistani side of Kashmir, have
been all but wiped off the map, their residents turned into refugees.
Foreign rescue teams who rushed to save trapped victims have given up the
fight, and Pakistani army troops have begun clearing the rubble with bulldozers
and spraying the wreckage with disinfectant.
"We're still racing against the clock and we need to get more helicopters,
more water, more tents and more money," UN relief chief Jan Egeland told AFP
during a visit to the quake-zone on Thursday.
"This is a desperate situation. As you can see we are making progress in the
more populated areas but it is so hard to reach the others," he said, referring
to blocked roads and steep terrain that prevents helicopters from landing.
"With the low temperatures, the chances of survival are very minimal. Now
we'll assist the people who are alive," said British rescuer Stuart Downes on
Friday as he prepared to leave Muzaffarabad.