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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 October 2005, 15:16 GMT 16:16 UK
'Forsaken victims' of earthquake
By Rahul Tandon,
BBC News, Bagh

People carry a burial in Bagh, three days after the earthquake hit the region
Bagh is a scene of complete devastation
One place desperately in need of help after last week's earthquake in South Asia is the town of Bagh in Pakistani-administered Kashmir, nearly 150 km from the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.

Rahul Tandon was one of the first journalists to reach the town and gave this report to the World Today programme.

We are stood next to the girls' college at the moment. The stench is unbearable. There are 300 bodies that are still lying in there at the moment. There's no equipment to remove the dead bodies, so there is a real problem of disease.

The one thing that strikes you immediately - 80% of this village has been destroyed - is that there are no children.

We've just been talking to some of the locals here and they've said most of them have died; they died in schools, and again, the bodies remain there.

As I look around me at the moment, most of the houses here are just lying flat on the floor and you can just imagine that all the people who were inside those properties would have died the minute that they collapsed. It is the scene of complete devastation.

Lot of anger

There is an army base not very far from here. In fact, the Pakistani prime minister has visited this army base and there is some slow aid trickling in.

But the problem is the level of aid - and particularly the lifting equipment that's needed to move these bodies - it's very difficult to get it to this area.

We drove here from Islamabad. It took us seven and a half hours and the roads are very, very narrow.

One wonders how they'll be able to get that sort of equipment here in the next few days and I have to say there is a lot of anger here amongst the Pakistani Kashmiris.

They say that they don't feel Pakistani anymore. They feel that they're being betrayed by their country, they want more aid, and the people that are surrounding me at the moment are very angry indeed.

An injured Kashmir boy stands beside his family members outside a tent in Bagh
The level of aid is not enough for Bagh residents

People who have their families trapped in properties are trying to remove those stones, but when we're talking about hospitals that have collapsed in this particular region, you can imagine that there's no possible way that even a group of people can make much success of that.

Some people are trying to leave this village to get to Islamabad and at least get some sort of shelter and some clean water, but that's not easy to do because there's not a huge amount of transport that's getting them there.

At the moment this really feels like a very forsaken area where anger is rising at the moment.

They are just desperate for some sort of aid to arrive here.

Face masks

People are just milling around on the streets.

Some people have been given face masks because there's such a large number of dead bodies here at the moment, but there's nowhere to stay.

WORST-HIT AREAS
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 1,000 dead

I'm actually speaking to you from the one petrol station in this area. It still has electricity and people are just sitting on the floor here, trying to work out where they go from here.

Not too far from here, in some of the outlying areas, they are much higher up, and there the weather is already very, very cold.

Nobody knows what's happened to the people in those areas, because the roads are still blocked.

Some of the villages are 15 kilometres from here and the only way to get there is by walking.

The only thing that is still functioning here is the petrol station.

Even the chief minister here is having a real problem with this particular area, because he has lost so many members of his own family.

We were told a short while ago that it's difficult for him to function and try to help the people here because he's coming to terms with his own losses and his own grief at the moment.

There is just grief abounding in this place at the moment, it is very difficult to see this as in any way close to normality.


BBC NEWS:VIDEO AND AUDIO
The injured struggle to reach medical centres for treatment




FROM OTHER NEWS SITES:
MSNBC Rains halt quake rescue flights - 19 hrs ago
ABCNEWS.com Weather Slows Asia Quake Aid; 35,000 Dead - 23 hrs ago
USA Today Weather hampers quake relief - 23 hrs ago
FOXNews.com Rain, Hail Hamper Quake Aid; Survivors Still Being Found - 25 hrs ago
Xinhua News Agency Rescuers battle on as world rushes to aid Pakistan - 27 hrs ago
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