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Last Updated: Monday, 10 October 2005, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK
'Whole generation' lost in quake
Villagers carry away an injured survivor as volunteers dig out dead bodies from a school in Balakot, Pakistan
Rescuers are struggling to reach the injured in time

Pakistan's military spokesman has said an entire generation of young people has been wiped out in the areas worst hit by a massive earthquake.

Maj Gen Shaukat Sultan, quoted by the AFP news agency, said children had been the biggest casualties. Many were killed when schools collapsed.

At least 20,000 people are thought to have been killed in Pakistan, with some reports suggesting the toll may double.

Many areas hit by the quake are only just being reached by aid workers.

A road has been re-opened into Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir where 11,000 are thought to have died, allowing trucks to deliver food and medical supplies.

I saw death in front of me... this was the worst nightmare with open eyes
Jahangeer, Lahore

The BBC's Aamer Ahmed Khan in Muzaffarabad says two international rescue teams pulled out a 12-year-old boy alive on Monday morning, two days after he was buried by rubble.

But people are becoming more and more desperate in the city, he says, with supply trucks mobbed and reports of looting at damaged shops and homes.

The rescue effort has been slowed by landslides which have wiped out roads and bridges, and a lack of helicopters to ferry in vital heavy lifting equipment.

Correspondents say anger is mounting in communities where significant outside help has yet to arrive, amid fears time is running out to find survivors.

Many of the victims were schoolchildren, who had just begun classes when school buildings collapsed on top of them.

Children made up half the population of the affected area and were particularly vulnerable, the UN children's agency Unicef has said.

Pakistani-run Kashmir: At least 17,000 dead
Pakistan's North-West Frontier province: At least 1,600 dead
Islamabad: At least 25 dead
Indian-run Kashmir: At least 600 dead

The BBC's Andrew North in Balakot, where two schools collapsed, says relatives have been frantically digging with bare hands for the several hundred children trapped inside but hopes are fading.

The long-awaited arrival of Pakistani soldiers with heavy lifting equipment on Monday means the search can finally be stepped up, our correspondent says.

Military spokesman Maj Gen Shaukat told AFP: "It is a whole generation that has been lost in the worst affected areas. The maximum number affected was schoolchildren.

"Rescuers are pulling out dead children in Muzaffarabad but there is no-one to claim the bodies which shows their parents are dead."

With some towns and villages completely flattened, President Pervez Musharraf told the BBC that Pakistan needed "massive cargo helicopter support" and aid supplies from the international community.

Amid scenes of death, destruction and destitution, the rescue effort begins

The US immediately came forward to offer eight military helicopters from its force in Afghanistan.

Many other countries across the world have offered financial help and practical support.

Gen Musharraf said the military had been mobilised but because roads in remote mountainous regions had been blocked or swept away in landslides, there was severe pressure on Pakistan's "limited" transport and helicopter resources.

"Other than that, we of course need relief goods in the form of tents and blankets and medicines," he said.

Officials in Indian-administered Kashmir said the death toll had risen to at least 750, with the bodies of 300 people found in one town alone.

World Food Programme
Kashmir International Relief Fund
Red Cross/ Red Crescent

Thousands in the region fled their homes on Sunday night after warnings of a further earthquake were broadcast from mosques.

Indian ruling Congress Party chief Sonia Gandhi toured the town of Uri, near the Line of Control dividing Pakistani and Indian-controlled Kashmir, and promised government help.

But angry residents in towns nearby said they had received no assistance.

UN emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland echoed the appeal for swift help. "We know that every hour counts in an earthquake of this magnitude," he said.

He spoke as tens of thousands of survivors spent a second night in the cold without shelter.

The earthquake, which hit at 0350GMT on Saturday, is thought to have been the strongest the region has seen in a century.


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