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South Asia Quake's Death Toll Grows

Families seeking security at an open school ground hours after the initial quake 8 October 2005 -- Authorities have said that more than 1,800 people have been killed by the massive earthquake that struck South Asia on 8 October.

Pakistani relief official Major Rana Nisar said that more than 1,000 people were killed in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

Riffat Pasha, the provincial head of police in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province, says that 550 were killed in that region alone.

Indian Information Minister S. Jaipal Reddy said that nearly 300 people were killed in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The earthquake measured 7.6 magnitude. Its epicenter was some 100 kilometers northeast of Pakistan's capital Islamabad, in the disputed Kashmir region -- which is divided into Pakistani and Indian-controlled sectors.

Widespread Destruction

Pakistan's chief military spokesman, Major General Shaukat Sultan, said there has been massive damage and destruction in northern Pakistan.

"Because the damages have been mostly in the far-flung areas, it is difficult for rescue teams to reach those areas," Sultan said. "In some of the areas the army was already deployed and they immediately started the rescue work. In other areas the rescue teams are being flown by helicopters."

Pakistan's Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao said many villages in the northern areas had been wiped out.

The earthquake also affected areas in Afghanistan, killing at least two people near Jalalabad.

International Relief Efforts

European countries are responding to the devestating earthquake that hit South Asia today, pledging funds, expertise, and rescue equipment.

In Berlin, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said Germany immediately released 50,000 euros to aid Pakistan's rescue and relief efforts.

Britain, France, and Greece said they are sending rescue teams and emergency specialists to help in affected regions. Ireland pledged 1 million euros in relief funds. Turkey, which is often hit by devastating quakes, also promised to send emergency aid.

The European Union is coordinating relief efforts through the EU's aid agency and other aid agencies already operating in affected regions.

See also:

Hundreds Killed By Powerful South Asian Earthquake