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More than 20,000 feared dead in southern Asia earthquake

Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 19 years ago, in 2005, on the World Wide Web.

I first heard about this at work this past Saturday. Then they were saying that over 500 were dead in one village. They didn’t yet have any idea how many were dead or homeless elsewhere.

I’ve been meaning to mention the story here since I heard it on the radio. But it’s hard to know what to put up when there aren’t any words for what’s happened.

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan Oct 10, 2005 — Hurt and hungry, families huddled under makeshift tents while waiting for relief supplies Monday after Pakistan’s worst-ever earthquake wiped out entire villages and buried roads in rubble. The death toll stood at 20,000 and was expected to rise.

In this devastated Himalayan city, wounded covered by shawls lay in the street, and villagers used sledgehammers to break through the rubble of flattened schools and homes seeking survivors.

The quake collapsed the city’s Islamabad Public School. Soldiers with white cloth tied around their mouths and noses pulled a small girl’s dust-covered body from the ruins, while the body of a boy remained pinned between heavy slabs of concrete.

The United Nations said more than 2.5 million people need shelter after the magnitude-7.6 earthquake along the Pakistan-India border. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Relief said it urgently needed 200,000 winterized tents.

Associated Press 2005-10-10

Rescuers are struggling to reach remote, mountainous areas, where tens of thousands of people have spent a second night in the cold without shelter.

It is such a horrendous situation that one cannot imagine. Casualties are increasing by the hour, Mr Sherpao said.

Officials said that 11,000 died in the city of Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Many of the victims were schoolchildren, who had just begun classes when school buildings collapsed on top of them.

The city’s cricket stadium is being used to house the homeless and offer relief to the survivors. The injured are waiting to be airlifted to hospitals in Islamabad.

Many of the towns and villages in the surrounding areas bore the brunt of the earthquake and have been virtually razed to the ground.

— BBC 2005-10-10

Direct Relief International is on the ground in Pakistan preparing emergency response and medical attention for the survivors. You can contribute online.

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