- Title: PAKISTAN: Rain and snow compound misery of quake survivors in Pakistan
- Date: 2nd January 2006
- Summary: SLV BIBI SITTING BY FIRE WITH HER CHILD
- Embargoed: 17th January 2006 12:00
- Location: Pakistan
- Country: Pakistan
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes
- Reuters ID: LVA9DJ6VWBVM4Q6NAYP6RTKGPYZ9
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- Story Text: The bad weather expected to strike an area of Pakistan already devastated by an earlier earthquake let loose on New Year's Day (January 1), bringing added misery to over two million people camping out in tents and crude shelters built on the rubble of their homes.
The devastating quake on October 8 killed over 73,000 people in Northern Pakistan, injured an almost equal number and made over three million homeless.
Rain and snow fell across the earthquake zone for a second straight day on Monday (January 2), grounding relief flights and adding to the discomfort of the survivors.
Heavy snow fell across high ground and rain drenched valleys overnight, triggering some tent collapses and landslides.
"We are sitting here drowning in the water. There is water at the back; there is water coming in from the front. We are just sitting here," wept Shakina Bibi, who huddled with one of her three children next to a fire outside her sodden tent in a camp in Muzaffarabad.
Her other son had fractured a leg in the quake and her daughter was having hysterical fits since the horrific tremors brought their world down nearly three months ago.
Bibi said her husband, who lost an arm in the quake, was looking after the family's surviving cattle in their badly-damaged house in a hamlet high in the mountains some 60 kms (37 miles) away from the squalid tent village, and she was anxious about his survival in the severe cold.
Vital air operations carrying relief have been suspended for three days in a row and survivors say most of their tents have fallen as their pegs come loose in the wet ground.
"Our condition is getting very bad. Half the tents have collapsed. Around 14-15 of us are out in the open in the snow tonight. Our children are literally dying of the cold," said Mohammad Sharif, a resident of a tent village near Muzaffarabad.
In the remote Allai Valley in North West Frontier province, hardy villagers, most of whose homes were destroyed in the quake, are confident of survival.
"Army personnel had given me the iron sheet. I have built a house with that and I have found it very good. The place is narrow but it is good for living. It is protecting us from cold and snow. There will be no problem if there is a snowfall," villager Shai ul Haq said, although he added he needed more corrugated iron.
The Pakistan meteorological department said that some parts of the quake zone, which extends from Kashmir into North West Frontier Province, had seen more than two feet (60 cm) of snow, adding that more rain and widespread heavy snow was expected until Saturday (January 7).
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