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Many sleep in open after tremors follow quake

Islamabad, Nov. 22 (Reuters): Thousands slept in the open in bitterly cold conditions overnight in Pakistan’s mountainous north as tremors continued following a major earthquake that killed 23 people, officials said today.

Landslides seriously hampered relief work, blocking access roads to valleys high in the Karakorum mountains close to the Nanga Parbat peak, they said . “People have been lying out in the open sky at night, afraid to go indoors,” Muhammad Ali Yugvi, the most senior government official in the area, said by telephone from Diamer district where most of the casualties took place early yesterday. “I was also woken up by tremors that were felt all night long,” he said.

Though Pakistan’s military-led government has flown hundreds of tents, thousands of blankets and other emergency goods to the main northern town of Gilgit, delivering relief supplies to affected villages in the scenic Astor valley is a key challenge.

“Astor road is badly damaged,” Yugvi said. “And so is the Karakorum Highway — almost a 20-km stretch.”

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