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Aid Starts Reaching Thousands in Quake-hit Pakistan


17 October 2005

Aid finally has started reaching some of Pakistan's thousands of cold and hungry earthquake survivors as helicopters, trucks, even donkeys are used to bring help to Himalayan villages cut off for nine days.

After two days of heavy rain grounded flights, Monday's sunny weather let dozens of helicopters scour the mountains where, aid workers warn, thousands could die within days without food, tents, blankets and medicine.

Red Cross officials tell VOA that there are still more than 30 points in Pakistani Kashmir where helicopters cannot land and only airdrop aid packages. They say residents are trying to build make-shift helipads for the aircraft to land.

But the sometimes risky aid missions have also brought more tales of death and destruction. The central government in Islamabad says the death toll has crossed 40,000 but Kashmiri leaders estimate that it is higher than that. They point to places where the rubble is still untouched.

Sunday's bad weather also forced India to call off relief flights in Indian Kashmir, where more than 1,400 people were killed in the earthquake.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.



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