M A I N   N E W S

14 villages still inaccessible
Tribune News Service

Relatives and jawans carry the injured to a helicoper for treatment in Srinagar from Tahgdhar, the area worst hit by Saturday’s earthquake in Jammu and Kashmir, on Monday.
Relatives and jawans carry the injured to a helicopter for treatment in Srinagar from Tahgdhar, the area worst hit by Saturday’s earthquake in Jammu and Kashmir, on Monday. — Tribune photo by Amin War

Srinagar, October 10
While rescue and relief operations in the affected areas of north Kashmir are in full swing, the death toll due to Saturday’s earthquake has been rising with 2,413 injured.

The toll is likely to rise as some high-altitude areas are still inaccessible, according to the officials here. As many as 4597 houses have been damaged.

Uri in Baramulla district and Tanghdhar in Kupwara district of north Kashmir have “suffered the maximum damage”, the state Chief Secretary, Mr Vijay Bakaya told mediapersons here and added that majority of the population in these areas had been rendered homeless. At least 14 villages of Tanghdhar area in Kupwara district were still inaccessible due to the difficult terrain and damage caused to the link roads in the area, he added. The Director General of Police, Mr Gopal Sharma, said 1000 police personnel had already been sent to the areas and were in action which led to the flow of information about the damage in the least possible time.

The Chief Secretary, Mr Vijay Bakaya, said priority was being given to the dispatch of tents for accommodation and blankets in the affected areas. He said so far 900 tents and 50 shamiyanas to accommodate over 1000 people had been sent to Tanghdhar areas. Similarly 600 tents and eight shamiyanas had been sent to Uri while more tents and ration and supplies were being dispatched for the affected people. Additional 2500 tents were being sent to Uri, he said. There was a requirement of about 15,000 tents and all necessary arrangements would be finalised within the next couple of days.

“We have also sent 10 teams of doctors and paramedical staff in Tanghdhar and 11 teams in Uri comprising 60 doctors apart from paramedical staff”, Mr Vijay Bakaya said. This was apart from providing 15 ambulances at the disposal of the officials. It was also announced that free ration would be provided to households of affected areas for one month, the Chief Secretary said. “This is in addition to the relief operations extended by the armed forces”, the Chief Secretary said. The civil administration and armed forces were working in complete synergy in the relief and rescue operations, the Chief Secretary said.

The state Chief Secretary, Mr Vijay Bakaya, told mediapersons here that out of 751 deaths, 733 persons died in Kashmir valley and 17 others in Jammu region. At least 2323 were injured in Kashmir while 90 were injured in Jammu region. Those killed in Kashmir valley included 469 in Baramulla, 258 in Kupwara, six in Srinagar and one in Budgam districts. Uri in Baramulla district and Tangdhar in Kupwara district suffered maximum damage. He added that out of 469 in Baramulla district, 465 deaths had taken place in Uri and four at other places. Out of 258 in Kupwara district, all but one death had taken place in Tanghdhar area, Mr Vijay Bakaya said. Those injured in the valley included 1692 in Baramulla district, 350 in Kupwara, 237 in Srinagar, 21 in Pulwama, 13 in Anantnag and 10 in Budgam districts.

Giving details about the damage in Jammu, the Chief Secretary said out of 17 deaths in the region, 10 deaths had taken place in Poonch district, three each in Doda and Udhampur and one in Jammu district. Those injured included 62 in Poonch district, 15 in Jammu, nine in Rajouri, three in Udhampur and one in Doda district.

At least 4597 houses have been damaged in the state out of which 4071 were damaged in Kashmir valley and 526 in Jammu region, the Chief Secretary said. Those damaged in the valley included 1600 in Baramulla, 1200 in Kupwara, 657 in Anantnag, 380 in Budgam, 214 in Srinagar and 20 in Pulwama district. In the Jammu region, 268 houses got damaged in Poonch district, 190 in Rajouri, 30 in Udhampur, 24 in Jammu and 11 in Doda district.


PM to visit quake-hit areas today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 10
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will visit the quake-hit areas of Jammu and Kashmir tomorrow, even as the Centre with the help of the Air Force and other armed forces launched a massive operation to reach out relief material to the quake-affected areas.

Dr Singh would make an on-the-spot assessment at Uri and Tangdhar of the damage caused by the killer quake which has so far claimed 865 lives.

An inter-ministerial central team would also be deputed to the state tomorrow for making an on-the-spot assessment of the damage caused by the earthquake and requirement of funds, Union Home Secretary V.K. Duggal told a press conference here. Mr Duggal said the toll could go up by 10 per cent as relief workers had not reached some far-flung areas so far.



India to airlift relief material to Pak today
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 10
Pakistan today accepted the Indian offer of assistance for quake relief, though only material and no personnel, and a 25-tonne capacity IL-76 Indian Air Force relief supply aircraft will land on Pakistani soil tomorrow evening, subject to necessary clearances from the Pakistani side.

This will be the first time since the 1971 Indo-Pak war that an IAF plane will be landing on Pakistani soil with a humanitarian mission. India had accepted Pakistani relief assistance in the wake of the 2001 Bhuj earthquake.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner, Mr Aziz Ahmed Khan, met Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran in his South Block office this evening on Mr Saran’s request. After this, Mr Saran took Mr Khan to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the latter’s official residence at 7, Race Course Road. Mr Saran said the Prime Minister told the Pakistani envoy that the hearts of the people and government of India go out for the victims of earthquake in Pakistan and shared a sense of grief and solidarity with the people of Pakistan.

The Prime Minister described the devastating quake, which has flattened a large number of villages in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and elsewhere in Pakistan, as “a great humanitarian crisis” and told the envoy that the people of India were deeply moved over the television images of death and destruction.

Dr Manmohan Singh has directed all the ministries and departments concerned to put together the items which can be rushed to Pakistan at the earliest. The first airlift of the relief material is scheduled for tomorrow evening.

Mr Saran said at a hurriedly convened briefing this evening that the Pakistani High Commissioner told the Prime Minister that President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz were “deeply appreciative of the Indian messages of sympathies and offer of assistance.



Vajpayee writes to Musharraf

New Delhi, October 10
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has written to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and conveyed condolences on the heavy loss of life and property in the Saturday’s earthquake.

“India has faced similar natural disasters in the recent past. The Gujarat earthquake of 2001 and the massive Tsunami of 2004 have led to the creation of an effective disaster management team in India.

“This is an occasion when our people can work together in the service of our brothers and sisters affected by nature’s wrath,” he said in the letter released here today. — TNS


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