Rescuers Hunt For Survivors Of Afghan-Pakistan Quake

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Rescuers are rushing to deliver relief aid to victims of a magnitude 7.5 earthquake that hit northern Afghanistan and Pakistan, killing more than 300 people over a wide swath of mostly mountainous terrain. Aljazeera has more:

Thousands spent the night outdoors in near-freezing temperatures reluctant to go back inside for fear of aftershocks, Pakistani media reported on early on Tuesday. “Rescue work is ongoing, and tents, blankets and sleeping mats are being provided,” Latif ur Rehman, a Pakistani disaster management official, told Reuters from the northwestern city of Peshawar.

Pakistan’s military and civilian authorities dispatched several helicopters to affected areas to assess damage and run rescue operations, the National Disaster Management Authority said.  The total death toll stood at 343 with at least 260 people killed in Pakistan and at least 83 more in Afghanistan, according to official reports from the two countries. More than 2,000 people have been injured.

Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from Kabal Swat in the Swat Valley area, said rescue teams have been fanning out in the area to try to assess the extent of the damage following the quake. At least 130 people have been reported killed in the Swat Valley area, he said, adding that many of the schools in the area have been closed for fear that it could collapse in case of major aftershocks. At least 1,900 homes and other buildings have been damaged.

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