M A I N   N E W S

Death toll 30000, still rising
Many towns flattened

Islamabad, October 9
An estimated 30,000 persons were killed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir by a massive earthquake, the region’s Minister for Works and Communication, Mr Tariq Farooq, said today.

“Our rough estimates say more than 30,000 persons have died in the earthquake in Kashmir,” he said. Pakistan’s military said earlier that at least 18,000 died in the 7.6 magnitude quake that hit yesterday.

“There are cities, there are towns which have been completely destroyed. Muzaffarabad is devastated,” he added, referring to the capital of PoK.

Around 3,000 persons were killed by the quake in Muzaffarabad.

The worst-hit place was Bagh, 40 km southeast of Muzaffarabad, Mr Farooq said. Between 6,000 and 7,000 persons are estimated to have died in the town and adjoining areas, Mr Farooq said.

“There are no survivors in villages like Jaglari, Kufalgarh, Harigal and Baniyali in Bagh district,” he said.

“People have been devoured by the earth.”

Pakistan’s Minister for Kashmir Affairs Faisal Hayat said half of Kashmir had been “severely affected by the earthquake”.

“Out of a population of 2.4 million, more than half is affected,” apparently referring to those displaced, injured or killed.

A military spokesman, Maj-Gen Shaukat Sultan, told CNN that the scale of the devastation was the biggest in Pakistan’s experience, adding that 41,000 persons had been injured in the quake.

His comments came as emergency workers continued to pull out the trapped, treat the injured and feed the homeless survivors of the earthquake.

Once remote areas, where quake caused large-scale damage, are accessed, the toll is expected to soar. Many roads were wiped out in the landslides triggered by the quake.

The military’s focus was on evacuating injured people, establishing forward bases and opening up communications, General Sultan said.

Rescuers worked through the night in the ruins of an apartment complex in the Pakistani capital after a major earthquake brought two blocks of flats crashing down on scores of residents.

Twentythree bodies had been found by this morning but about 90 persons were pulled alive from the Margala Towers blocks where expatriate workers and middle-class Pakistanis lived.

One woman was rescued overnight but her hand had to be amputated to pull her free while a Pakistani man survivor had his leg amputated, a military official involved in the rescue effort said. — Agencies


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