20 children die of pneumonia in quake-hit Pak
Twenty children from families displaced by a massive earthquake have died of pneumonia and dysentery during a burst of cold weather in the mountains of northwestern Pakistan.india Updated: Jan 11, 2007 17:03 IST
Twenty children from families displaced by a massive earthquake have died of pneumonia and dysentery during a burst of cold weather in the mountains of northwestern Pakistan, an official said on Thursday.
The victims, aged from 2 months to 7 years, died in the past week, suffering coughing, chest congestion and dysentery, in eight villages in the district of Mansehra, said Sardar Shah Khan, a mayor in the affected area.
UN and government health officials could not immediately confirm Khan's report. Munir Ahmed, a senior government official in Mansehra, in North West Frontier Province, said he has not heard of cold-related deaths in the region.
Khan provided the agency with a list of the names of the fathers of all the dead children.
A magnitude-7.6 quake on October 8, 2005, killed more than 80,000 people in northwestern Pakistan and its portion of occupied Kashmir, and left more than 3 million homeless. Most still live in temporary shelters and tents.
The 20 deaths were reported in Sachan Kalan, an area of which Khan is mayor. Some of the affected villages are located above 6,000 feet, Khan said.
He said most of the deaths were suffered by displaced families living in tents and shelters made of steel sheets.
"We have no hospital in the area and if the people had been warm and living in their homes, the deaths may not have occurred," said Khan by telephone from Mansehra.
Quake-hit regions, like much of Pakistan, are enduring a bitter winter, but to date authorities have reported few fatalities.
The UN says adequate health care facilities and medicine supplies are in place in remote areas to prevent a humanitarian crisis.