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Estimated Toll in South Asia Quake Rises - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, AP -One month after South Asia”s massive Oct. 8 earthquake, the estimated regional death toll jumped to 87,350 Tuesday following a new count of Pakistan”s casualties, an official said.

Pakistani finance ministry official Iqbal Ahmed Khan said an assessment by the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, working with local provincial governments and aid agencies, found Pakistan”s death toll to be 86,000.

India has reported 1,350 deaths in its territory.

The central Pakistani government”s official death toll — still at 73,000 — typically has lagged behind other estimates, including those of local provincial governments in the quake-affected areas, who have been reporting figures adding up to 79,000.

Khan said the new count was given to top Pakistani officials at a meeting Monday. He said it came as result of more bodies being recovered from the rubble in the quake zone and after assessment teams reached areas that previously were inaccessible due to landslides unleashed by the quake.

&#34This is their assessment, which we think is fair enough,&#34 Khan said. &#34They had various teams in the field. This is feedback from the field.&#34

The U.N. stepped up its appeals for more money to help victims centered in Pakistan”s portion of Kashmir, urging donors to be as generous as with other recent disasters and saying it urgently needs $42.4 million to keep bringing help through November.

&#34What is particularly difficult in Kashmir is that people (will) freeze to death if they don”t get assistance in weeks,&#34 U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland said in New York. &#34It”s even more urgent than it was in these other hurricanes or tsunamis.&#34

Egeland urged everyone from individuals to oil-rich nations to contribute.

The U.N. planned to hold a news conference later Tuesday to detail how it must cut back its operations unless it gets more funding.

But Egeland said in New York that the U.N. has launched &#34Operation Winter Race&#34 to bring shelter to about 200,000 people living at high altitudes above the snow line in the rugged Himalayans and about 150,000 expected to come down to tent camps at lower elevations.

&#34The concept is one warm room per family before it becomes too cold,&#34 he said.

Egeland said he was encouraged that 334,000 tents have been delivered and that 332,000 more are in the pipeline, &#34and that should be enough&#34 if all arrive and are distributed. But he issued an urgent appeal for stoves to help keep people warm.

The quake also destroyed the homes of more than 3 million people, many of whom have moved into the many tent camps that have been set up in foothills of the Himalayas in northern Pakistan.

But the camps pose dangers as well because most still lack adequate clean water and sanitation, aid workers say.

&#34Unless conditions are improved in these camps, diseases like cholera could spread like wildfire,&#34 said quake relief head Jane Cockin of the British charity Oxfam. &#34If disease does break out in the camps, the number of deaths could far exceed those in danger in their villages.&#34

Acute diarrhea, tetanus and measles have already killed dozens of people since the quake. The winter could bring hypothermia, pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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