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Tuesday, 26 November, 2002, 15:34 GMT
Pakistan army flies out quake victims
Quake victims outside ruined house
Victims need to be relocated before the first snows

The Pakistani army has resorted to using helicopters to re-locate several thousand people affected by last week's earthquake.

As temperatures in the area plummet with the onset of winter, landslides and aftershocks continue to hamper relief operations in the remote Diamir district, about 75 kilometres (45 miles) from Gilgit.

Almost all the roads linking this mountainous part of Pakistan's Northern Areas with the rest of the country are still blocked.

A spokesman for the Pakistan Army said helicopters were the only mode of transport.

More than 20 people were killed and several more injured when an earthquake hit the area, completely destroying at least seven villages.

Devastation

Tents, blankets and food supplies are still being sent to the area, and army doctors and paramedics have set up makeshift medical camps for affected people.

But the devastation caused by the earthquake has been much more than was initially anticipated.

More than 15,000 people have been made homeless, and local journalists say the survival of the quake victims has become a major issue as the temperature drops to around minus 8C during the night.

A senior official said army helicopters had now started to relocate most of the children and elderly people to safer places like the towns of Gilgit and Skardu.

Many people in the area still complain that they are without sufficient protection or shelter, and aftershocks are affecting their efforts to rebuild their homes.

However, an army spokesman said they are hoping to reopen the roads and provide adequate shelter for the remaining affected people before the start of snowfall in the area.

See also:

21 Nov 02 | South Asia
05 Nov 02 | South Asia
11 Nov 02 | Technology
16 Nov 02 | Science/Nature
26 Mar 02 | Earthquakes
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