Sunday, October 09, 2005

Earthquake death toll crosses 40,000

* Balakot razed to the ground
* 11,000 dead in Muzaffarabad
* 30,000 dead in Kashmir, says minister
* Death toll in Held Kashmir reaches 689
* NWFP death toll may reach 7,500: Haq
* 850 schoolchildren trapped under rubble in NWFP

The government on Sunday confirmed the death of over 19,000 people after a massive earthquake hit Pakistan a day earlier, but unofficial estimates put the death toll to over 40,000. The worst-affected city was Muzzaffarbad, the capital of Kashmir, where 70 percent of the entire housing was destroyed by the earthquake. Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz told a press conference that the worst-hit areas were Muzaffarabad, Bagh, Mansehra and Balakot.

Balakot, the tehsil headquarters of district Mansehra, has been completely razed to the ground and thousands of people are still buried under the debris. In the Battagram district, wounded people were getting little medical treatment, since the only hospital had collapsed, a police official said. Haq said that more than 25,000 tents were needed. “We have so far arranged 3,000 tents and the lack of tents is a great worry for us,” he told Daily Times.

The Mansehra District Headquarters Hospital was packed with people injured from the quake, many of whom were put in tents. In Garhi Habibullah, 200 bodies including 60 girl students of the Government Higher Secondary School have been recovered from the wreckage.

“There are no survivors in villages like Jaglari, Kufalgarh, Harigal and Baniyali in the Bagh district,” Farooq said. “People have been devoured by death.” He said that the death toll was likely to rise. “It’s a hilly area. They have not yet accessed villages in the mountains and the toll could rise up to 30,000,” said Farooq.

Authorities in India reported that 689 people had died and more than 900 injured, while Afghanistan reported at least four deaths. “Information is now coming in from far off areas,” one official said from the frontier Kupwara town. “We have recovered 258 bodies so far, and 100 are wounded in the Karnah town.” Read More....

Source: Daily Times
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