Quake survivors face new threats

AID WORKERS in Kashmir say winter weather and untreated injuries could cause another wave of deaths in the earthquake hit region.

Doctors in Pakistan say tens of thousands of people across Kashmir are still waiting to receive treatment. As many as 54,000 people may have died in the quake, local officials now say. Many of the survivors are in remote mountains or deep valleys with no medical help available. The United Nations (UN) says more than three million people have been left homeless and the Pakistani government says it needs another half-a-million tents capable of withstanding winter conditions.

One UN official in Pakistan says the deep valleys and high mountains of Kashmir are less accessible for relief workers than the area affected by the 2003 Bam earthquake in Iran or the coastal regions devastated in last year’s tsunami. “Here we’ve got over 15,000 villages spread out through the affected region,” Andrew Mcleod, operations manager of the UN Emergency Response Team working out of Islamabad, has revealed. “The affected areas are much larger in geographical size than the tsunami and, rather than being in flat coastal areas, we are operating in some of the highest mountains and deepest valleys in the world,” he added.