Pakistan: Rescue, relief operation begins

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By Our Staff Correspondent

QUETTA, Oct 29: The Balochistan government, with the help of the army and Frontier Corps, has launched a massive relief and rescue operation in the quake-hit areas.

Troops moved into the affected areas of Ziarat district with helicopters and other machinery.

Provincial Home Secretary Shaukat Awan said at a press conference, along with Director General of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority Abdul Qayyum Kakar, that rescue and relief work had started in the morning and 12 helicopters were taking part.

He said that a C-130 plane carrying relief goods sent by the National Disaster Management Authority had arrived in Quetta and another plane would land on Thursday.

Mr Awan said the government had dispatched bulldozers, graders and other heavy machinery to quake-hit areas. "Two helicopters are engaged in survey of the affected areas and other four are carrying out relief and rescue work. One helicopter arrived from Multan."

He said that 115 bodies had been retrieved from debris of the collapsed houses and about 296 injured people had been shifted to hospitals in Ziarat, Khanozai and Quetta.

The home secretary said that 18 medical teams and 18 ambulances were taking part in the relief operation, adding that the provincial government had sent 1,000 tents, 1,500 blankets and ready-to-eat items to quake-hit villages in Ziarat.

PDMA director general said that Mercy Corps, an international relief organisation, had also dispatched four medical teams and two ambulances to Ziarat. The organisation set up an emergency centre in Kawas village.

Officials said that Saudi Arabia and UAE governments had called the provincial governor, assuring him that they would provide maximum assistance.

Teams of doctors, paramedical staff and relief workers belonging to various NGOs and political parties also reached the affected areas and started relief work. They were providing medicines, food, warm clothes, blankets and tents to the affected.

People of the quake-hit areas have urged the government to expedite relief work and provide more tents, blankets and medicines. They also said that relief goods should be distributed through army personnel.

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