Around the epicentre of the South Asia quake there are scenes of shock and desperation, with parents trying to find their children among the rubble of collapsed schools. The quake struck just before nine o’clock in the morning local time, when classes had just begun. In one town in Pakistan, Balakot, as many as 850 children were reportedly trapped in the ruins of two school buildings that collapsed.
People say they heard children calling out for help, but there was no way to reach them through the heavy piles of concrete and steel. With no sign of emergency services in the long hours after the quake, villagers were left to organise their own makeshift rescue equipment, including iron bars to pull away rubble. Landslides prevented rescuers from quickly getting to the worst affected areas. Later, Pakistani military helicopters began ferrying troops and supplies into Muzaffarabad, stepping up the search for any survivors. Makeshift hospitals have been set up to treat the many thousands of people who have been injured.