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Mules to the service of quake-hit in Kashmir

Source: PTI
October 14, 2005 02:01 IST
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With several areas in quake-hit northern Kashmir remaining inaccessible by road, authorities have pressed mules into service to ferry relief material as aid efforts picked up momentum on Thursday after being hampered by bad weather conditions.

Mules laden with food material, medicines and tents for hungry and desperate survivors snaked through treacherous treks carrying hundreds of kilograms of essentials on their backs.

An Army official said 40 'mountain artillery mules' are being used to reach villages along the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus route.

Debris along the way and inclement weather continued to prevent relief teams from reaching several hard-hit places even on Thursday while some helicopter relief sorties had to be cancelled due to thick cloud cover over the Kashmir skies.

Panic, anger and desperation were the dominant emotions of the quake-hit people as they continued to scramble for every piece of bread, bottle of water or cover over their heads. Nineteen people were arrested for "unauthorised" collection of relief materials.     

For some survivors, the whereabouts of their relations was the cause of worry.

Salim Javed, a youth from Ginjal, who is in a makeshift camp at the moment, said, "for us, every night now is a nightmare which steals our sleep." 

With winter already setting in, the wait for tents is giving sleepless nights to an estimated 160,000 homeless people.

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