[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 November 2006, 17:13 GMT
Charles visits quake-hit region
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall talks to a mother and her child in Pattika
Camilla said it was "staggering" how many died in last year's earthquake
Prince Charles has visited an area of Pakistan-administered Kashmir stricken by last year's massive earthquake.

He and the Duchess of Cornwall were taken to Pattika, in the Neelam River valley of the Lesser Himalaya, to see reconstruction and aid work.

The earthquake on 8 October last year left tens of thousands dead and millions displaced from their homes.

The prince's trip has been affected by security concerns, with a trip to Peshawar having to be cancelled.

Journeying to the north-western frontier of Pakistan was regarded as a risk after unrest followed an air raid on suspected militants.

The prince has used his visit to speak out against religious intolerance, and to press President Pervez Musharraf over the case of Mirza Tahir Hussain, a Briton acquitted of murder by a civilian court, but sentenced to death by a religious court.

Our sympathies are with you
Prince Charles

In Pattika, Charles and Camilla viewed the wreckage of houses and spoke to those who were still homeless.

Charles told one of the villagers: "Our sympathies are with you."

Two students presented the couple with bouquets at a government girls' school flattened by the quake.

Three teachers and more than 100 children died when the classrooms collapsed.

Charles and Camilla passed the graves of five girls whose bodies were never claimed - their families are believed to have also died in the quake.

It is staggering how many people died
The Duchess of Cornwall

It will take three years to rebuild the school. Classes are currently held in tents.

While touring a new health clinic paid for by aid, Camilla said of the devastation: "When you see it on television, you have no idea."

She told an aid worker: "It is a beautiful place. It is so terrible what happened.

"There must have been terrible landslides. It is staggering how many people died."

Earlier, two Pakistani Special Branch officers on their way to guard the village for the prince's visit were killed when their truck veered off the road and into the ravine into the Neelam River.

They had been overtaking the convoy carrying representatives of the British news media.

An officer in Pattika said: "This is a most tragic area."

'Who are you?'

Charles and Camilla flew to the mountainous village by army helicopter.

Scores of armed guards in camouflage were in Pattika to protect them.

Charles's British security team tried to clear a path through the crowds of onlookers to allow the couple to walk through the village.

When one of the prince's protection officers asked "who are you?" of one of the crowd he was about to move, the man replied that he was Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan, Pakistan-administered Kashmir's prime minister.




SEE ALSO
In Pictures: Royal earthquake visit
01 Nov 06 |  In Pictures
Prince urges religious tolerance
31 Oct 06 |  South Asia
In Pictures: Royal Pakistan tour
31 Oct 06 |  In Pictures
Rally condemns Pakistan air raid
31 Oct 06 |  South Asia

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific