Source Pravda.Ru

New figures: death toll in South Asian quake is more than 79,000

A casualty survey by one of the two hardest-hit Pakistani regions pushed the toll Wednesday from South Asia's mammoth earthquake to more than 79,000, making it one of the deadliest in the past century.

More aftershocks rattled the region, sending huge clouds of dust up from steep-sided mountain valleys where villages lie in pieces. The president, on a helicopter visit through the ruins, promised new, quake-ready houses to the homeless.

In remote uplands, a steady flow of injured villagers continued to seek medical attention. Many had infected wounds, untreated since the Oct. 8 temblor, and had to rely on relatives to carry them for hours on foot to makeshift clinics.

More than 60 helicopters were dropping relief supplies and mule trains were pushing into areas where no choppers can land.

Eleven days after the 7.6-magnitude quake, the full scale of the disaster is becoming apparent. A helicopter trip through the badly hit Neelum and Kaghan Valleys showed flattened homes on mountainsides and roads still blocked by boulders, trees and earth. Moving only on foot, people were fashioning new pathways over landslides.

The central government updated its death toll to 47,700, but regional authorities gave much higher figures, based on information filtering in from outlying areas and as more bodies were pulled from the rubble of collapsed buildings. A.M.