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Quake toll over 40,000: PoK PM

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October 15, 2005 16:49 IST

Over 40,000 people have died in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir alone in last week's devastating earthquake and the toll in the region could go upto 80,000, PoK Prime Minister Sikander Hayat Khan was quoted as saying on Saturday.

However, Pakistan's Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao told state-run PTV that 38,000 people were killed and over 68,000 injured so far across the country. He said the death toll is likely to rise further.

Thousands of Muslims offered special prayers on Saturday for the dead at Islamabad's King Faisal mosque at 8:51 am, the time when the quake had struck exactly a week ago.

Heavy rains and snow compounded the miseries of thousands of survivors and hampered the relief and rescue operations as soldiers and aid agencies raced against time to get food, blankets and shelter to remote mountanious villages.

In an interview to The Post, the PoK prime minister said 40,000 people were confirmed dead and over 50,000 were injured in PoK alone. The death toll, he said, could climb to 80,000 as more bodies were being recovered in remote areas.

Nearly 28,000 people have been killed in Muzaffarabad alone, the epicentre of the October 8 quake while 10,00-15,000 have lost their lives in Bagh and Rawalakot, Khan said. Revising the official toll from 25,000, the Interior Minister said over 38,000 people have been killed and the number is likely to rise further.

Over 68,000 have so far been injured and many more were being located in remote areas in PoK and North Western Frontier Province and being rushed to field hospitals by a fleet of over 70 helicopters, Sherpao said.

Complete coverage: Tremors across borders

K J M Varma in Islamabad
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