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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 October 2005, 19:11 GMT 20:11 UK
'We have lost over 100 relatives'
By Jacqueline Head
BBC News

After the massive earthquake that devastated Pakistan killing at least 19,000 people one distraught family living in the UK tells how they have lost many close relatives and more than 100 members of their extended family in the disaster.

The Ahmed family sit in a small room of a shop that houses the Kashmir International Relief Fund in Leytonstone, in east London.

Kanweez Ahmed
Kanweez fears for her family especially her sister
They have hardly slept for the past two days and their faces are worn and streaked with tears.

Many of their relatives live in a small village just outside Chehla-Bandi, in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

It is a remote, hilly area that has been badly hit by the earthquake, and no aid has yet reached the region.

So far they fear a cousin, a brother-in-law and his mother, brother, wife and four-month-old child are dead, and they have yet to hear from a sister in another village.

"We have uncles, aunts, and other relatives who are all dead," Jamil Ahmed, from Leyton, said.

There is utter devastation, they called it judgement day
Saffeer Awan

"The local school collapsed and we don't know how many girls are buried underneath. There is no help."

The family are in constant contact with people in their village as they frantically try and get news about loved ones.

As they spoke of the relatives they had lost, their mobiles were constantly ringing as everyone scrambled for the latest information.

"Our brother-in-law, his mother, brother, wife and baby are all trapped. People can see their feet but they can't reach them," said Mr Ahmed.

'No point crying'

Another brother-in-law of Mr Ahmed's travelled to the area on Saturday night, with 30 others, to try and find missing relatives.

"When we first heard the news we started to shake. I am trying to block out the emotions and help as much as I can.

"There is no point in crying. We have to keep ourselves together for everyone else," said Mr Ahmed.

His brother Saffeer Awan, 43, said: "Our family lives in a small town and everyone there is related.

Jamil Ahmed
Jamil Ahmed hopes aid will reach his village soon
"Some areas are cut off from other areas because of landslides.

"There is a mountain on the side of our village that has massive cracks in it.

"There is utter devastation, they called it judgement day. It does feel like judgement day to me.

"It's devastating, it's like nothing you have experienced. We can't go out there yet because we could not survive. We feel so helpless.

"We don't just feel for our own family, we feel for everybody. My wife is devastated. Every time she hears about something else she breaks down.

'Too many to mourn'

"They buried 12 people today. Normally you would have 200 people going to one funeral, but only 25 people went to the burials. There is nobody around to go.

"People have laid many of the bodies out on the field, they are sitting with the dead bodies because there is no one to help bury them.

"There is nobody to dig graves for these people."

Saffeer Awan
Saffeer feels helpless in the quake's aftermath

His sister Kanweez Ahmed, 47, said many people were too scared to go back inside because of the aftershocks.

"There are so many people who have lost their lives, we don't know who to mourn. There are too many to mourn.

Zahid Bashir, their nephew, said his brother is a doctor at a local hospital, but fortunately was not working there when the building collapsed.

"He said all the doctors at the hospital are dead. There is no one to give medical help."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Hear from Britons who have lost relatives in the disaster




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