With the death toll now expected to rise to a staggering 40,000, fears of an epidemic in Pakistan are growing in the wake of Saturday’s earthquake. Warnings of eventual widespread infections due to water pollution caused by the number of corpses still unrecovered have been issued. Some bodies could remain buried for many days and maybe even weeks to come.Aid, which has finally begun to arrive in stricken regions, is being pounced upon by desperate people who have been left homeless and hungry. However with landslides still blocking roads to many of the worst-hit parts, there remain numerous areas that have yet to see any sign of help. One resident of Muzaffarabad explained that despite hearing reports that relief and rescue teams were on their way, he had seen nobody and no aid. Air drops of aid have increased as more helicopters have become available. Pakistani Brigadier Ashraf Tabassam says the delay was inevitable. “It takes some time to reach the people. It takes about 48 hours,” he said. “And moreover, the roads were cut off and there were so many logistical problems.” The United Nations has said over 2.5 million people are in need of shelter. Pakistan is calling the quake its worst ever disaster.
Fears of epidemic in earthquake-hit Pakistan