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Rescuers Hunt For Quake Survivors In Pakistan

British rescue workers aiding efforts to find survivors in Islamabad 10 October 2005 -- Pakistan is working to cope with its worst-ever natural disaster today as rescuers search for survivors more than 48 hours after a powerful earthquake struck the region.

The final death toll will not be known for some time, but government officials say at least 20,000 people were killed and another 42,000 were injured by the 8 October quake, whose magnitude measured 7.6.

The quake -- centered 95 kilometers northeast of Islamabad -- killed some 700 people in India and at least one person in Afghanistan.

The United Nations children's agency predicted today that the death toll would rise to between 30,000 and 40,000, a figure that echoes some Pakistani authorities direst forecasts in the day following the initial earthquake. A UNICEF spokeswoman, Julia Spriy Leverton, in the capital Islamabad told AFP news agency that the agency received the revised figure from officials in the Pakistani government.

International Rescue Effort

Governments from around the world -- including Turkey, China, Japan, Britain, and Germany -- have responded by dispatching rescue teams to the area.

U.S. President George W. Bush is among a number of world leaders who have responded to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's call for immediate international assistance.

"We want to help in any way we can," Bush said. "To that end, we've already started to and other equipment and goods that [are] going to be needed to help the people in Pakistan."

An eight-member UN team is coordinating the relief effort in the hardest-hit areas of Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, while Pakistani troops and international teams search the rubble for survivors and assist those left homeless.


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