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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 November 2005, 01:00 GMT
Earthquake toll leaps to 73,000
Quake survivors near Balakot, Pakistan
More than 40 villages are still to be reached, says Pakistan
Pakistan says more than 73,000 people died in the 8 October quake that devastated its north and Kashmir.

Official figures a day earlier had put the death toll at about 57,000. No reason was given for the sudden jump.

The government has proceeded cautiously in its count so far. The new figures tally closer to local estimates of 80,000 which are several weeks old.

Relief commissioner Farooq Ahmed Khan said more than 69,000 were injured. He expected the casualty toll to rise.

Nearly 1,400 people died in Indian-administered Kashmir, officials say.

Tetanus

Mr Khan said in Islamabad that 41 villages "had not yet been accessed by the relief and rescue teams due to roads destroyed by the quake", 31 of them in North-West Frontier Province.

Quake survivor near Chinari, Pakistan

He put the official death toll for Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir at 73,276. More than three million are homeless.

Mr Khan said Pakistan had established 58 tent villages, sheltering about 36,000 people.

The commissioner appealed for more vaccines, particularly against tetanus.

World Health Organisation spokesperson Sacha Bootsma said another 24 survivors had died of tetanus in Pakistan, raising the total deaths to 44. Another 140 patients are infected.

Meanwhile the relief commissioner urged the international community to provide at least two air ambulances to shift critically injured people from quake struck areas to hospitals in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

DEADLY RECENT QUAKES
2004 Asian tsunami, triggered by undersea quake - kills at least 200,000
2003 Bam, Iran - kills 26,271
2001 Gujarat, north-west India - kills more than 20,000
1990 Gilan, Iran - kills 35,000
1976 Tangshan, China - kills 255,000 (official)
1970 Peru - kills 66,000
1948 Ashgabat, Turkmenistan - kills 110,000
1935 Quetta, Pakistan - kills 30,000-60,000
1927 Tsinghai, China - kills 200,000
1923 Tokyo, Japan - kills 143,000
1908 Messina, Italy - kills an estimated 70,000-100,000
Source: US Geological Survey

Also on Wednesday, the US resumed helicopter relief flights after saying one of its aircraft had been fired upon by a rocket-propelled grenade on Tuesday.

However, helicopters steered clear of the area near Chakothi where the incident involving the CH-47 Chinook occurred.

The US says the incident will not stop its work.

Pakistan said it believed the firing was mistaken for dynamiting taking place to clear landslides.

Also on Wednesday, President Pervez Musharraf met UN and NGO officials who are desperately seeking money that has been pledged by the international community.

Relief agencies say there is only a small window of opportunity to help victims before the harsh Himalayan winter sets in.

The president said a database was being compiled to help assess the amount of damage and the need for rebuilding.





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Scenes from the continuing relief effort



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