October 2005 News

Muzaffarabad a 'city of death'

9 October 2005
The Daily Times

Muzaffarabad: The Azad Kashmir capital was a scene of utter devastation on Sunday, 24 hours after a magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck, killing about 18,000 people across northern Pakistan. 'It is a scene of utter devastation. It looks like a city of death,' said Reuters reporter Zulfiqar Ali, who was in Islamabad when the earthquake hit on Saturday morning. Hindered from reaching his hometown of Muzaffarabad by washed-out roads on Saturday night, Ali walked the remaining distance on Sunday morning into a scene of complete destruction. Most houses, government buildings and shops had collapsed, he said. 'No one knows how many have been killed or how many survived,' Ali said by satellite telephone. 'Those buildings that have withstood the shocks are badly cracked and no one is going into them.' The quake was centred in the forested mountains of Azad Kashmir, near the Indian border, and violently jolted large parts of northern Pakistan, as well as parts of India and Afghanistan. Thousands of people were killed in Pakistan, a presidential spokesman said. The quake also battered Indian Kashmir, killing more than 300 people there. Frightened Muzaffarabad residents spent a chilly Saturday night in the open, camped in fields, parks, graveyards and cars. Most people had no food because shops or markets did not open. The army had set up camps and provided some food to survivors but much more help was needed, Ali said. Many students of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir University in Muzaffarabad were buried under the debris, residents said.


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