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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 October 2005, 07:07 GMT 08:07 UK
Five children pulled from rubble
By Andrew North
BBC News, Balakot

Six-year-old Sultan is rescued from the wreckage of his school in Balakot
The discovery of children like Sultan gives the town of Balakot hope

Five children have been pulled out alive by a specialist French rescue team from the rubble of a school in one of Pakistan's worst quake-hit towns.

The team of French military engineers worked through Monday night on the collapsed remains of one of the schools in the town of Balakot.

There were thought to be at least 100 children inside the school when the earthquake struck on Saturday morning.

It brought the huge concrete roof straight down on top of the pupils.

But in the early hours of Tuesday, using sniffer dogs and special cameras, the French team found four boys and one girl alive.

They are 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 is bodies that are being pulled from the ruins.

Volunteer help

More Pakistani troops are now helping with that grisly task and in clearing wreckage.

Villagers carry out an injured survivor from the rubble of Shaheen school in Balakot
Schools have been particularly badly hit, say reports

They have faced criticism in the town 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.

Across Balakot, you see them at work caring for the survivors of this devastated town.


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