Saturday, October 8, 2005

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.

"We are rushing against the clock here," a spokeswoman for the United Nations (UN) Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

Rescue workers are struggling to pull survivors of Saturday's 7.6 magnitude earthquake from the rubble.

The spokeswoman says an eight-member UN team has begun coordinating the relief effort in the hardest hit areas, and teams from Turkey, China, Britain and Germany are on the ground.

She says the greatest need is for field hospitals, water purification and blankets.

"The logistical problems will be big. We are going to need more helicopters for example."

US, Australia, Japan, the Netherlands, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are among others dispatching help.

The quake, which General Musharraf's spokesman calls the worst devastation in Pakistan's history, has also killed more than 550 people in India and at least one in Afghanistan.

Pakistani expats pray for quake victims
By In Solidarity 8 October 05

Pakistani Muslims living in Australia have held a special prayer service for the 20,000 people killed in the earthquake that rattled Pakistan, India and Afghanistan on Saturday.

Khawar Saleem Khan, from the Pakistan Australia Friendship Association, says hundreds of people attended the service.

He has also called on the community to donate to Pakistan's national earthquake relief fund.

"That's what we did in the Canberra Islamic Centre," he said.

"We also did a, we call it prayer for the ones who passed away, we did that and approximately 400 attended over there."

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) says there are no reports of any Australian casualties.

Consular officials from Islamabad and New Delhi are checking on the welfare of Australians in the region.

By In Solidarity 8 October 05