Monday, October 10, 2005

Pakistan: Helicopters top priority 48 hours after huge earthquake

Many more helicopters are urgently needed to deploy rescue teams and assist an estimated four million people left in dire need of food, shelter, water and medicine after Saturday's devastating earthquake, aid workers said on Monday. The earthquake has left at least 20,000 people dead and 42,000 injured over northern Pakistan and India.

Fixed wing aircraft are of limited use, although C-130 aircrafts can be used to move relief supplies and heavy-lifting equipment into the worst-hit area, they can only land at one airport: Muzzaffarabad, capital of Pakistani-administered Kashmir, Macleod explained. The city, 100 km northeast of Islamabad, was badly hit by the quake. Officials announced on Monday that the road to Muzzaffarabad had been re-opened following the earthquake. Trucks carrying relief supplies have arrived in the city, government officials said.

"We know that every hour counts in an earthquake of this magnitude and the United Nations is ready to assist the country affected in any possible manner," Jan Egeland, UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said on Saturday in a statement from UN Headquarters in New York.

The UN will issue a flash appeal shortly which is expected to include estimates of the costs of immediate relief operations and longer term reconstruction and development needs of the earthquake-affected regions. Read More ....

Source: IRIN
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