Quake toll soars above 30,000
The death toll has soared to 30,800 in the aftermath of a massive earthquake in Pakistan, as nations around the world try to get aid to the northern parts of the devastated country and to Kashmir.
A day after the 7.6-magnitude earthquake hit, government officials pleaded for international assistance to help dig survivors from the rubble, take them to hospitals and begin repairing the region's shattered infrastructure.
Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, flew Sunday over flattened towns along the northwest frontier and over Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.
Meanwhile, in a report from The Associated Press, the United Nations warned that more than 2.5 million people are in need of shelter following the earthquake.
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said 43,000 people were injured in the quake, which struck shortly before 9 a.m. Saturday（midnight Friday EDT）100 kilometers（60 miles）north-northeast of the Pakistani capital. Casualty figures "will certainly go up," he told CNN's "Late Edition." Two major hospitals were badly damaged, and a massive relief effort was under way, with the government working to set up temporary medical centers and evacuating the injured in helicopters, Aziz said.
He appealed to the international community to send heavy-lift helicopters, as well as tents, blankets, medicine and "hundreds of millions of dollars" to help rebuild the infrastructure. "Some of the towns have been flattened, so there's nothing there," Aziz said.
Faiza Janmohammad, country director of aid group Mercy Corps, said Pakistan's death toll was about 40,000, but the source of her information was not clear. "This is the number we have been hearing in the international organizations' coordination meetings as well as out in the field," she said.