Pakistan asks for help after earthquake

Oct. 9, 2005 at 9:11 PM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- A massive relief effort was underway Sunday in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan one day after a 7.6-magnitude earthquake.

Pakistan's President, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, flew over leveled towns along the northwest frontier and over Pakistan-controlled Kashmir -- some of the hardest hit areas where entire villages were destroyed.

An estimated 22,000 were killed and more than 40,000 injured. The Pakistani government declared three days of mourning for victims, from Sunday until Tuesday, CNN reported.

Musharraf appealed for help from the international community to send helicopters, tents, blankets, medicine and "hundreds of millions of dollars" to help rebuild the flattened areas.

"I expressed our nation's deepest condolences, and I told him we want to help in any way we can," President George Bush told reporters Sunday. "To that end, we've already started to send cash money and other equipment and goods."

From the international airport in the capital of Islamabad -- about 60 miles from where the earthquake hit -- the United Nations has been coordinating relief efforts, said Jan Egeland, U.N. undersecretary for humanitarian affairs.

Egeland said the number of people left without shelter rivals that after last year's tsunami in South Asia.

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