Chinese rescuers in Pakistan offer hope
Updated: 2005-10-12 05:42
A Chinese rescue team rescued two people from under the rubble of a collapsed house in Balakot, a village in the northwestern frontier province of Mansehra, which was levelled by the Saturday's earthquake.
Forty-one injured also received medical treatment at Chinese rescue camps in Balakot, according to team director Peng Bibo.
But hope was dwindling yesterday of finding survivors among the thousands buried under the rubble of houses, offices and schools.
The official death toll remained at 21,000, but officials in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir and Pakistan's northwestern provinces areas that bore the brunt of the 7.6-magnitude quake suggested it could be almost twice as high.
Medical experts say an uninjured man can last for three days without water and a woman for four days, which means time is running out although in such catastrophes there are often stories of miraculous survival.
The 49-member Chinese team arrived at Balakot on Monday afternoon as the only rescue team in the village. They brought with them six sniffer dogs, eight tons of rescue equipment and nine tons of relief supplies. The earthquake caused the collapse of 90 per cent of the houses in the village. About 28,000 people or 70 per cent of the village population were dead or injured.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said yesterday in Beijing that the Chinese Government is implementing a US$6.2 million aid programme.
The Ministry of Commerce sent to Pakistan 149 additional tons of relief materials yesterday, including generators, tents, food, medicine, medical equipment and water purifiers, valued at 24 million yuan (US$2.96 million).
In Hong Kong, Hutchison Whampoa Limited, with Li Ka Shing as chairman, and the Li Ka Shing Foundation will donate US$500,000 to Pakistan for relief efforts and the rebuilding of the country, it was announced yesterday.
(China Daily 10/12/2005 page1)