Earthquake damage in Islamabad (AFP)
21 October 2005 -- NATO is due to hold a meeting today to consider pleas to launch a massive airlift to deliver desperately needed aid to hundreds of thousands of earthquake survivors in Pakistani Kashmir.
Jan Egeland, the United Nations' emergency relief coordinator, is expected to address a NATO Council meeting in Brussels to appeal for more help from the 26-country alliance.
Egeland said yesterday that difficulties in getting aid to blocked off or remote quake-hit areas of Pakistan before winter have amounted to a "logistical nightmare" worse than the struggle to get aid to survivors of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
UN officials say some 3 million Pakistanis are homeless as a result of the earthquake and tens of thousands more people could die unless the world quickly mobilizes to help survivors before the onset of the Himalayan winter.
Nearly 50,000 people have been confirmed dead in Pakistan from the 8 October earthquake.