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Pakistan quake toll 30,000

By K J M Varma in Islamabad
Last updated on: October 10, 2005 08:51 IST
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The full magnitude of the devastation caused by Saturday's killer earthquake unfolded Sunday with the death figure in Pakistan being estimated at about 30,000 while on the Indian side of Kashmir it has crossed 650 and could rise further as rescuers struggled to reach inaccessible areas.

PoK communication Minister Tariq Mahmmod was quoted as saying over 30,000 had perished in the region, many of them students. Paksitan's Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao, however, said so far over 19,000 people have lost their lives in the country with PoK accounting for more than 17,000.

Describing the tragedy as the 'worst ever' in Pakistan's history, President Pervez Musharraf sought international assistance in the form of medicines, blankets, tents and helicopters to provide succour to the affected.

A Union Home Ministry spokesman in New Delhi put the total number of dead in Jammu and Kashmir late tonight at 656 of whom 589 in Kashmir valley and the rest in Jammu division while 17 army and BSF personnel perished in the state in the quake.

Earlier, Chief Secretary Vijay Bakaya said in Srinagar the death toll across the state has touched 600 and a pile of bodies have been recovered from debris of houses in Tangdhar and Uri areas.

The picture of more death and devastation in the valley surfaced as Army and Air Force personnel accessed areas hitherto untouched by rescue efforts even as fresh tremors and aftershock jolted parts of Jammu and Kashmir, creating further panic among the people.

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K J M Varma in Islamabad
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