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Forgotten Victims in Pakistan

November 4, 2005 at 12:00 AM EDT
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JONATHAN MILLER: Nine thousand feet up in the foothills of the Himalayas we’re flying into a valley unreached by international aid: the Badey Valley.

Two hundred here are killed by the quake; more than 400 still lie injured. Trapped in the valley by landslides, and it’s already been snowing. The vicious cold is already killing, they say.

MAN (Translated): The most important things are medicines, warm clothes, and food, and we’ve had none of them. The small children are really suffering in this freezing cold weather, and there’s nothing to protect us. Poor people are dying here.

MAN (Translated): It’s too cold here. Children are dying. For six months, you can’t get to the markets, and no one can get in. We get 15 feet of snow. We can’t even contact each other. It’s just too cold.

JONATHAN MILLER: The winter tents will do for now, but what they need are new tin roofs, hammers and nails, to rebuild houses fast. They don’t want to leave, and soon, it will be too late to go.

Even with sophisticated instruments, it’s too dangerous to fly through mountains like these in this sort of weather. It won’t be long now before the Chinooks are grounded and 27 days on from the quake, 40 villages still unreached.

Pakistan’s President, General Pervez Musharraf, in the devastated Kashmiri city of Muzaffarabad today visiting survivors at a new camp on the feast day of Idu’l Fitr. He told me that almost a month on from the quake, Pakistan is still desperate for outside help.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: I only hope that the international community doesn’t think that this is all that they have to give. So I am hoping that on the 19th of November, we call a conference, and that is a conference on reconstruction and rehabilitation.

I only hope that the international community comes up to the same level, or near what assistance tsunami or Katrina got.

JONATHAN MILLER: So the line of control is going to be open at five points on Monday. Now, this is a big, historic moment. Could this earthquake, in the end, be a catalyst for peace with India?

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: I am hoping so. But you don’t clap with one hand. I have always been saying that, yes, this is an opportunity; it’s an opportunity of a lifetime.

JONATHAN MILLER: You can’t celebrate Id when you’ve only just buried your dead. Large swaths of northern Pakistan are in mourning, 73,000 killed, at least as many injured, more than three million homeless. In Masjid Hamanwali, Muzaffarabad’s oldest mosque, they said their Id prayers in the ruins. Everyone here has lost someone.