October 2005 News

Over 100,000 Killed In AJK, Says Qayyum

26 October 2005
The Nation

Islamabad: The massive earthquake that hit Pakistan on October 8, killed well over 100,000 people in Azad Kashmir while thousands others are feared to meet the same fate owing to rough weather conditions. Veteran Kashmiri leader, Sardar Abdul Qayum Khan said this here in an interview with The Nation. He said that apart from well over one lakh people killed in Azad Kashmir thousands others were wounded by the severe earthquake. He said the death toll is likely to rise further as more and more inaccessible villages are being accessed by the military and aid agencies. However, he added that the exact figures of casualties and the injured would be available once the official survey had been conducted. He said that in the next few days the government survey team would submit its report. To a question, he said that children were worst hit by the massive earthquake saying thousands of school going children were killed because they were attending schools when the tremors jolted the country. Former AJK Prime Minister said the international rescue teams and aid agencies responded immediately to aid and assistance calls but they lacked coordination. He said the rescue teams needed to be organised to reach the far-flung inaccessible areas by clearing the blocked roads. Answering a question, he said the immediate need of quake survivors was shelter and added that they needed tents as the winter season is approaching. He said reacting to our calls, many foreign countries had dispatched hundreds of tents but they were not useful at the height of 4000 feet above the sea level. For people living there, we needed to make special kind of tents, which will save them from snowy season, he added. He said the government had sent essential construction material to the affected areas, 'so that the homeless people could build their two-room houses at least'. To a question on President Musharraf's LoC proposal, Sardar Qayum said it is a positive move but added that Pakistan and India needed to have a formal procedure to implement the move, which is of great political sensitivity. Death toll 54,000: Sherpao APP adds-The death toll from the October 8 massive earthquake has increased to 54,000 and is likely to rise, Interior Minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao said here Wednesday. He told reporters that 77,000 people were injured in the earthquake that ravaged an area spread over 21,000 square kilometre, leaving millions homeless. Tents are a priority item to provide shelter to all quake affected people before extreme winter sets in, he said. 'The government is striving to shelter quake survivors in tent villages, but many people are not ready to leave their areas.' he said. Sherpao said every effort was being made to bridge the gap between demand and supply of tents. The Minister said that relief operations were continuing in full swing in the affected areas. He urged people staying near their devatasted homes at high altitudes to come down so that they could be provided with adequate shelter, medical help and items of daily use.


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