| Children with rolls of toilet paper in Muzaffarabad. (Reuters)
Islamabad, Oct. 14: A senior UN official today said his organisation would revise its initial flash appeal for $272 million for the areas devastated by last week’s earthquake.
“It is a devastation beyond belief and we will need billions of dollars over five to ten years for rehabilitation and reconstruction of earthquake-ravaged areas,” the UN under-secretary for humanitarian affairs, Jan Egeland, told a news conference in Islamabad.
He warned that any lack of co-ordination would be a “disaster in disaster”.
“We will (then) be simply blocking each other, which might come in the way of life-saving help for many.”
He called for closely co-ordinated delivery of relief material, saying that the thousands of foreign and local aid organisations operating in Pakistan must try to avoid possible “logistical bottlenecks”.
“An earthquake before winter in the Himalayan mountains is a complete logistical nightmare... the roads are gone where we needed them,” Egeland said.
He added that more helicopters were needed to reach the people in the remote villages, still inaccessible because of destroyed roads.
The relief and rescue operations have entered their sixth day. While authorities in Pakistan Kashmir put the death count at 30,000, a minister from North West Frontier Province (NWFP) claimed that more than 12,000 people had died in his province alone.
“The number of casualties in the province has risen to 12,000 and we fear a further rise in the toll as nearly 500 villages in five badly affected districts remain inaccessible due to severed road links,” NWFP information minister Asif Iqbal Daudzai said.
Chief military spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan told reporters in Islamabad that there is enough relief material in the cities.