Pakistan pleads for aid as quake toll climbs 7.6-magnitude temblor kills 20,000-30,000 people across south Asia.
9, 2005, MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan - Rescuers struggled to reach remote, mountainous areas Sunday after Pakistan's worst-ever earthquake wiped out entire villages, buried roads in rubble and knocked out electricity and water supplies. The death toll stood at 20,000 and was expected to rise.
In this devastated Himalayan city, wounded covered by shawls lay in the street, and villagers used sledgehammers to break through the rubble of flattened schools and homes seeking survivors.
The magnitude-7.6 quake collapsed the city's Islamabad Public School. Soldiers with white cloth tied around their mouths and noses pulled a small girl's dust-covered body from the ruins, while the body of a boy remained pinned between heavy slabs of concrete.
The United Nations said more than 2.5 million people need shelter after the magnitude-7.6 earthquake along the Pakistan-India border. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Relief said it urgently needed 200,000 winterized tents.
President Gen. Pervez Musharraf complained of a shortage of helicopters needed to ferry in relief workers, food and medical supplies, and appealed for international help.
Bush pledges assistance
In Washington, President Bush said eight U.S. military choppers were being moved to help in rescue efforts, and he promised financial assistance. India, which has fought three wars with Pakistan, also offered assistance, as did Israel, which has no relations with the Muslim nation.
Bush said he spoke with Musharraf and "told him that we want to help in any way we can."
"Thousands of people have died, thousands are wounded, and the United States of America wants to help," Bush said from the Oval Office.
"We are handling the worst disaster in Pakistan's history," chief army spokesman Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan said.
The quake was felt across a wide swath of South Asia from central Afghanistan to western Bangladesh. It swayed buildings in the capitals of three nations, with the damage spanning at least 250 miles from Jalalabad in Afghanistan to Srinagar in northern Indian territory.
In Islamabad, a 10-story building collapsed, killing at least 24 people.
Pakistan in need
Oct. 8: Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on what his nation needs in the wake of Saturday's deadly earthquake.
Late Sunday, helmeted rescuers found a survivor after hearing his cries for help. The thin man in a blue shirt, looking dazed, emerged on his own with little help and stood in front of a crowd of cheering onlookers. One rescuer patted his head, and the man waved and pumped his fist in the air.
Pakistan said the death toll ranged between 20,000 and 30,000. India reported more than 600 dead, and Afghanistan said four were killed.
"We have enough manpower but we need financial support ... to cope with the tragedy,"Musharraf said in Rawalpindi, according to the state-run news agency Associated Press of Pakistan.
He also appealed for medicine and tents.
Musharraf said he knew of as many as 20,000 people killed, and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said about 43,000 people were injured.
Musharraf said the only way to reach many far-flung areas was by helicopter because roads were impassable.
"Our helicopter resources are limited," he said. "We need massive cargo helicopter support."
Northern Pakistan hardest-hit
Most of the devastation occurred in northern Pakistan. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered about 60 miles northeast of the capital, Islamabad, in the forested mountains of Pakistani Kashmir.
"I have been informed by my department that more than 30,000 people have died in Kashmir," Tariq Mahmmod, communications minister for the Himalayan region, he said.
Pakistan pleads for aid as quake toll climbs
7.6-magnitude temblor kills 20,000-30,000 people across south Asia
By In Solidarity posted 11 October 05
Devastating quake kills 20,000 in Pakistan and India
A major earthquake on Saturday morning measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale has devastated cities, towns and villages across northern Pakistan. The official death toll in Pakistan reached 19,369 yesterday with over 42,000 people injured, but casualties are expected to climb further as rescue workers reach outlying areas. Hundreds more were killed in Indian-controlled Kashmir. The worst affected in both countries were the poor who lived in cheap housing built of mud brick and wood.
World races clock to help quake victims
Rescue teams and aid pledges have poured into Pakistan from around the world after the devastating earthquake that has killed about 20,000 people.
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