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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 October 2005, 06:51 GMT 07:51 UK
Reporters' log: S Asia earthquake
Injured Kashmiris and hundreds of others wait for medical aid in Muzaffarabad
Injured survivors have spent three nights in outdoor camps
More than 20,000 people are thought to have died in a powerful earthquake in Pakistan, northern India and the disputed territory of Kashmir. Pakistan's president has appealed for international help, saying his country cannot deal with the devastating aftermath on its own.

BBC correspondents in the region report on the impact of the earthquake.

Andrew North : Balakot, Pakistan : 0405GMT

The road into Balakot is now jammed with vehicles bringing in every kind of aid - blankets, food and tents. Pakistani army helicopters are still ferrying in supplies too. But around the town there are still thousands of people living out in the open without proper assistance and many more in villages further up the valley.

There are also growing complaints about people coming in from areas unaffected by the earthquake and taking aid supplies and about people looting from the ruins of collapsed homes.

Signs have appeared on some buildings telling people not to steal. 'You could be a victim too', warns one. The key problem is a lack of central authority to manage the distribution of aid and to keep order. The Pakistani military says it's trying to improve things but it's taking time.

Dumeetha Luthra : Muzaffarabad, Pakistan : 1934MT

It's a fourth night in the cold with little shelter and food here in Muzaffarabad. Thousands died in this town alone. Help has started arriving, but heavy rains and tortuous mountain roads have hampered a relief operation that had barely begun.

In the outlying areas, helicopters are the only real way of getting supplies to the victims and evacuating the injured. Pakistan now has 40, including four from America and two from Germany. They have arrived from bases in neighbouring Afghanistan.

People here wander around, their eyes showing the horrors they have endured. Those who can, are leaving the town, the roads are jammed with cars. Those who can't are stuck here, scavenging through the remains of homes and buildings, finding firewood for a bit of warmth, corrugated iron sheets for make shift protection from the elements.

And Muzaffarabad is still better off than the outlying regions. At least here people are getting in, however slowly. There are still villages where no one has been, and as they are reached the death toll will rise.

Barbara Plett : Muzaffarabad, Pakistan : 1809MT

More supplies have landed in Muzaffarabad. The American helicopters brought in tents and food, and took away the sick and injured to hospitals further south. This is the hub of emergency relief for isolated villages in the area. Food convoys are now also inching along narrow mountainous roads. The minister for Kashmir affairs, Faisul Salah Hyat, is confident the flow of relief has really begun.

But there was no relief for one woman I met. Her name is Sayyeda. She has four relatives trapped in the rubble of a nearby village. She came to the airfield to try and get help. The army is running this helicopter shuttle, but local people have had to rely on themselves for search and rescue, aided in some places by international teams, and an afternoon storm grounded the helicopters and further delayed the food convoys.

Andrew North : Balakot, Pakistan : 1632GMT

Local people are still searching through the rubble of Balakot, hoping to find loved ones, even during the heavy rains that hit the area during the day. And there have been a few more dramatic rescues; A boy pulled out of the remains of his school in the early afternoon.

But some of the specialist foreign rescue teams are moving on; a Japanese group that has only just arrived, and a French team that found five children alive early on Tuesday. They say they are only finding corpses now, and many more have been brought out during the day by local people.

The bodies are being buried around the town. More aid is now reaching Balakot, but people, who have walked here from outlying villages, say little is getting to these places. The Pakistani military says it has more troops heading up to these mountain areas to bring in more supplies. But it seems that much more is needed in these areas.

Sanjeev Srivastava : Srinagar, Indian Kashmir : 1440GMT

I think Manmohan Singh, India's prime minister was being candid when he said that he knows that relief is not adequate, he knows that it's not reaching every place.

But he says his government is doing its best and will ensure things will improve here on. So that should be a message to the administration.

Most people here are saying it's the administrative machinery that's not performing up to the mark.

Everything seems to have been left to the army in most cases especially in more remote areas where roads are quite broken and it's difficult to access those areas.

India has had a good track record particularly with the tsunami and the Gujarat earthquake. But it's different in this case. It's happened in far flung areas. Srinagar, the capital of Indian Kashmir is not so well equipped in logistics backup.

There aren't enough bulldozers or tents to be distributed and all that has taken its time in coming. Now that it has come, it's not really reaching the right places. It's being distributed to towns and villages more accessible on the highway.

Atlaf Hussain : Srinagar, Indian Kashmir : 1400GMT

Speaking at a special service organised for the people killed in the earthquake on both sides of the Line of Control that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan, Mirwaiz Farooq, who heads a faction of the separatist alliance, All Party Hurriyat (Freedom) Conference, said the two governments should also open road links between the two parts of Kashmir so that people from divided families could visit each other in this hour of calamity.

He said this would also mean that the volunteers will be able to join in the rescue and relief effort. Thousands of people participated in the service held at Jama Masjid, the grand mosque in Srinagar.

Mirwaiz Farooq's appeal assumes significance because of Pakistan's refusal to India's offer of joint rescue and relief operations in quake-hit areas.

Farooq, who heads a faction of the separatist alliance, All Party Hurriyat (Freedom) Conference, says he is upset by the indifference of Indian NGOs and business houses to the disaster in Kashmir.

Andrew North : Balakot, Pakistan : 1315GMT

Much more relief coordination is needed. A lot of people are complaining they don't know who's in charge here despite a greater presence by the Pakistani military on the ground.

On the fourth day of the earthquake, hopes of finding any survivors are fading away. That's not to say people haven't stopped. Many of the survivors here in Balakot even through the heavy rain were still searching hoping to find their loved ones.

The town is now inundated with people trying to help. In some cases, they're not doing much to help; they are standing around watching.

The main street in Balakot is absolutely covered in clothes that have been brought in and donated. These have been spilt out over the road and trampled in with mud from the rain.

Mike Wooldridge : Islamabad, Pakistan : 1300GMT

A UN flash appeal of 300 million worth of items will be needed here over the coming months. That's what has been calculated and most of those are relief supplies. Tents and blankets are needed immediately for shelter.

They are also to make sure they will be sufficient food supplies and the thrust of the problem is to deal with this problem of homelessness.

The Pakistani government say that the international response has been encouraging but it most certainly does need to be built on.

What the UN does recognise is that the business of coordinating all this aid from different nations is going to be absolutely critical as in the aftermath of any emergency.

Mike Wooldridge : Islamabad, Pakistan : 1240GMT

Aid from many nations is now arriving here in the capital but moving it into Pakistani administered Kashmir, and neighbouring areas that bore the brunt of this disaster.

This is already a race against time and although the Pakistani authorities now have some roads open again, helicopters are crucial for getting urgently needed supplies in, and the wounded, out.

So, any grounding is a significant problem. The storm and rain hit the most devastated region first, then, the capital, too, forcing a hasty move for a government-private relief coordination centre that has been operating from the grounds of the Senate building.

At this centre, they respond to criticisms that too little aid has reached some of the worst-hit areas, by stressing the logistical challenges.

The United Nations, coordinating the international response here, says it is inevitable that in a disaster on this scale mistakes will be made, but it is important, too, to concentrate on the successes, such as the people who continue to be rescued alive from the rubble of collapsed buildings.

Barbara Plett : Muzaffarabad, Pakistan : 1225GMT

I have just come from the airfield watching helicopters coming in and out - something we haven't seen regularly during our time in Muzaffarabad. Four American Chinook helicopters as well as eight cargo helicopters are ferrying aid in and they are taking wounded people out.

But then a torrential rainstorm stopped everything. Not only did it stop the helicopters. But homeless people here are living under just tarpaulins and plastic sheets and they got a real drenching.

Afterwards they went on a scavenging hunt looking for corrugated iron sheets to protect themselves a little bit more until they can get tents.

Ground convoys are on the way but the problem is that roads that have been cleared from the avalanches are cleared only for light traffic. There are traffic jams, and the ground convoys aren't getting through easily.

The head of the relief operation today was talking more about relief than search and rescue, and I think people are beginning to accept that they won't find many more people alive under the rubble.

Aamer Ahmed Khan : Bagh area, Pakistan : 1200GMT

The place has an eerie feel to it, as if a super giant has walked through it - crushing everything that came underfoot.

Volunteers bringing in relief supplies say they had not anticipated such a serious need for tents in the area.

There has been one critical breakthrough, though.

The massive relief effort coordinated in the public and private sectors across Pakistan seems to be coming through.

Sian Williams : Muzaffarabad, Pakistan : 1100GMT

The search and rescue operation is winding down here.

They are telling us that there are very few sounds coming from the rubble now, but they know that there are still an awful lot of bodies buried underneath.

The danger is that the rains are coming and with all these bodies comes disease.

The World Health Organisation is extremely concerned about water-borne diseases that could break out here because there won't be enough medicine to cope.

Andrew North : Balakot, Pakistan : 1020GMT

One problem is that the weather has changed for the worse, certainly making things harder for the relief effort.

The relief operation is starting to gather pace here. Teams are arriving and there are more Pakistani troops bringing in more supplies by helicopter and road, helping out with the clearing of wreckage and trying to find survivors.

There is also a concern of new landslides occurring in parts of the road that have been cleared.

There are still many people around the town who don't have proper shelter.

Although the Pakistani military have managed to bring in tents, there are some people who are having to find what shelter they can, make a tent out of sheeting or cloth of whatever they can find in the ruins.

Lyse Doucet : Muzaffarabad, Pakistan : 1010GMT

I've been talking to many officials today in Muzaffarabad, trying to establish a clearer idea of how many people lost their homes and now have nowhere to go, how many people have died, how many are injured.

This is very much still a relief operation getting off the ground. The other cruel irony of the onset of the heavy rains is that finally today I've gone out to some of the relief centres and the relief operation was going into the phase where they could provide tents, blankets and medicines for people.

People have been saying that for the first three days the priority has been very much the priority has been on trying to find if anyone was buried alive under the rubble. I spoke to one French rescue team just a short time ago and they said they rescued five children yesterday.

One thirteen year old was pulled out last night and she was sent to Islamabad for treatment. Now they say they are not hearing any more sounds.

The sounds they are hearing are around me, of the people who do need help. These people need food and water.

Andrew North : Balakot, Pakistan : 0940GMT

Just as the relief efforts were starting to gather some pace in Balakot, after a lot of complaints from survivors, the weather has changed for the worst.

There've been thunderstorms and rain since late morning. Workers with heavy construction equipment are still trying to clear roads around the town but now there are concerns about new landslides occurring.

It's making it harder too for the Pakistani troops here and for the various specialist rescue units that have arrived from Dubai, Japan and Switzerland, adding to teams already here from China and France.

And even more miserable for the thousands of survivors around the town - many of them with little shelter from the rain.

Despite the weather though, many local people are still searching for survivors in the rubble but mostly finding they're dead.

There was a terrible scene in the remains of Balakot's bazaar as the rain swept in and a man broke down in tears as he realised the body just brought out was his brother.

Sanjeev Srivastava : Uri, Indian Kashmir : 0910GMT

It's the same story in Uri where there's enough availability of relief material in the main town but not much is reaching many villages which are not easily accessible.

The Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, was confronted by angry locals during his visit to earthquake affected areas earlier in the day. They were all complaining about the inadequacies in relief distribution.

Mr Singh told the BBC that he was aware of the shortcomings. But the government was doing its best. But clearly their best was not good enough for the thousands of those who are desperate here for food and shelter.

Sian Williams : Muzaffarabad, Pakistan : 0905GMT

The shelter is the tin roof and it's pouring with rain. It's monsoon conditions. And it came out of nowhere.

The real worry is that the rain could bring water borne diseases which is what the World Health Organisation is terrified about.

There are no sanitary conditions here. There is nowhere for people to wash, to clean themselves, there's no running water and that is how disease spreads. There are dead bodies lying in the road.

Mike Wooldridge : Islamabad, Pakistan : 0820GMT

The capital is becoming the nerve centre of the whole operation for the northern part of the country. Search and rescue teams are still arriving.

I'm at the apartment block that came down in the earthquake on Saturday morning where the rescue work continues where British rescue workers working alongside their Pakistani counterparts.

Here at the scene of this building they have certainly have had some encouraging developments in the last couple of hours or so. A two year old Iraqi boy was pulled out, his mother works for the United Nations.

Afterwards they got his mother out as well. They've been trying to locate her for a couple of days after hearing her speak - that they regarded as a great success to get them out.

Right in front of me now, they're just in the process of trying to get out two more people, buried deep inside the rubble here - a mother and her daughter.

The United Nations say that coordination is improving by the hour. They say more and more aid is coming in by the hour.

Andrew North : Balakot, Pakistan : 0810GMT

A rainstorm has started and that's certainly going to make things a lot harder for the rescuers. The rescue effort has stepped up. There's more Pakistani military and more foreign relief teams here. Still there's a lot to be done.

Even now in the rain, I'm looking across the town and I can see hundreds of people scrabbling, picking at the rubble, hoping that they might be able to find people underneath.

What they need in many of these cases is heavy lifting gear to get over these big pieces of concrete. There are more machines now in town but not enough to deal with the amount of rubble.

There has been a lot of anger here. People say that the government has been too slow to react. But certainly this morning there are a lot more Pakistani troops.

I've been speaking to quite a few of them and they have been defending their efforts that this is a huge disaster and it was always going to be difficult to meet peoples' expectations that quickly.

But they say they now have around 2,000 troops in this area, not just in Balakot itself but in the villages further beyond.

But I think there's also a growing concern not just about the fate of the survivors here in the town itself but further up the valley where conditions in villages are just as bad but they have very little help at all.

Further beyond here the landslides are so heavy and so big that it's going to take weeks to clear them. Rain like this is going to make things a lot tougher.

Rahul Tandon : Bagh, Pakistan : 0711GMT

There is very little happening here now to be honest, very little aid is coming in.

A rescue team has arrived from Holland this morning. But they can't get their equipment here, so they are just using their hands to get to people at the moment. There are thousands of bodies trapped under the rubble, many of them children. Everywhere you go you can smell death.

Survivors don't have shelter, it is about to rain. Last night we understand a few people died from the extreme cold.

It is just completely chaotic here. People are carrying dead bodies on stretchers, taking them for burial. There are people walking from villages, four and five hours walk away, bringing relatives and friends who need medical aid.

But the hospital has been destroyed, there is only one doctor left here now.

Zaffar Abbas : Muzaffarabad, Pakistan : 0706GMT

There are several villages outside Muzaffarabad that have remained inaccessible, not just because there are no road links but also because the authorities and aid agencies have been concentrating on large cities.

We have been hearing complaints from villagers who are coming to the towns asking for help. They say the villages have been wiped out. We have absolutely no idea and the authorities have no idea how many people have died there, how many are still alive and how many need medical and food aid.

It is a bad situation outside the big main cities.

Sian Williams : Muzaffarabad, Pakistan : 0703GMT

There are bodies lying on the roads, families are still trying to retrieve their loved ones from the wreckage.

Here in a camp there are large extended families camped out together. They have some blankets, and a little food but aid is very slow to come and they've been here for three days and three nights. There are a few tarpaulins set up to provide shelter, but the rain is coming. There is also a worry about disease.

Mike Wooldridge : Islamabad, Pakistan : 0539GMT

In the Pakistani capital, British rescuers have rescued an Iraqi woman and her two year old son out of the rubble of a collapsed apartment building unscathed.

Diggers have been working away for hours around the area from which the British rescue team had heard the woman's tapping. She's an Iraqi employee of the UN. Finally they reached her and her small son.

John Holland, the leader of the British team, coaxed the two year old to crawl towards him and then brought him out in his arms. His mother was brought out too and both turned out to be unscathed.

In the early hours of the morning, the British team made verbal contact with two women from one family in another part of the building, which collapsed completely in the earthquake. The operation to free them is expected to take several more hours.

The British sniffer dog team which has also been working here at the apartment building is now moving to the town of Bagh in the heart of the devastated region to the north of here.

Andrew North : Balakot, Pakistan : 0425GMT

A team of French military engineers arrived here late on Monday and worked through the night on the collapsed remains of one of Balakot's schools. There were thought to be at least 100 children inside when the earthquake struck, bringing the huge concrete roof straight down on top of them.

But in the early hours of Tuesday, using sniffer dogs and special cameras, the French team found four boys and one girl alive. They're now being treated for their injuries, most of them minor.

It was a spark of hope in a town where for the most part it's bodies that are being pulled from the ruins.

Andrew North : Balakot, Pakistan : 0406GMT

More Pakistani troops are now helping with the grizzly task of pulling bodies from ruins and in clearing wreckage.

They have faced criticism here for not bringing in enough man power earlier.

But the relief effort here is still being led by hundreds of volunteers who have come from across Pakistan.

Medical students have set up mobile clinics amid the ruins. Lawyers, teachers and businessmen have brought in food, water and blankets and across Balakot, you see them at work caring for the survivors of this devastated town.


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