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Pakistan quake death toll could hit 38,000

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Pakistan quake death toll could hit 38,000

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There is now a race against time in Pakistan to find survivors from the most devastating natural disaster in the country’s history.

Some people are being pulled live from the rubble of collapsed buildings in Islamabad. But the death toll across the earthquake zone could be as high as 38,000. Relief workers have yet to reach many remote villages in the country’s towering northern mountains. The quake measured at a magnitude of 7.6 and was the strongest in south Asia for a century. The worst affected areas are Pakistan-held Kashmir and North West Frontier province. One of the biggest challenges for the rescue effort is getting help through – landslides have blocked many roads, others have simply vanished. For those lucky enough to have survived they have to deal with the grief of mourning for those they have lost. The quake struck as the school day was beginning and thousands of children were killed as school buildings collapsed on top of them. Aid has begun to arrive in Pakistan from donors across the world, including a plane-load of supplies and rescue workers from the Iranian Red Crescent organisation. The United Nations is coordinating the relief effort in the hardest hit areas and says the greatest need is for field hospitals, water purification and blankets. The EU has earmarked 3.6 million euros in aid, the US has offered 41 million euros. Neighbouring India has offered help with rescue and relief work – a sign of the thawing relations between these one arch rivals. UNICEF says that children make up to half the population of the quake affected areas. They will be vulnerable to hunger, cold, illness and trauma.