October 09, 2005

Judgement Day, Update 1

The death toll continues to rise:

Villagers desperate to find survivors dug with bare hands Sunday through the debris of a collapsed school where children had been heard crying beneath the rubble after a massive earthquake killed more than 30,000 people in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir alone.

"I have been informed by my department that more than 30,000 people have died in Kashmir," Tariq Mahmmod, communications minister for the Himalayan region, told The Associated Press.

Saturday's magnitude-7.6 quake also struck India and Afghanistan, which reported hundreds dead.

Using early estimates from the Boxing Day Tsunami as a guide, I'll sadly suggest that the final tally may be far higher - as high as a hundred thousand dead once disease, infection, and other factors have their say - across the affected countries. While in the west we tend to overestimate initial fatalities because of media sensationalism, deaths in the east often seem to be underestimated.

A possible silver lining?

The shared tragedy confronting India and Pakistan in disputed Kashmir could pay dividends for the fragile peace process, experts said on Sunday after a massive earthquake left thousands dead there.

"It will certainly help in furthering the peace process," former Indian foreign secretary and ambassador to Washington Lalit Mansingh told AFP.

Joint relief efforts could boost confidence, Mansingh said, noting that Indian and Pakistani civilians as well as the troops that face off across the Kashmiri border had lost their lives in Saturday morning's massive quake.

"This is a common tragedy. There is nothing political about this. It can help bring people together," Mansingh added.

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Judgement Day

Posted by Confederate Yankee at October 9, 2005 10:13 AM | TrackBack