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Earthquake Strikes Again

KABUL, Afghanistan - A strong earthquake struck remote northeastern Afghanistan early Tuesday, shaking the ground for hundreds of miles and bringing frightened survivors of October's devastating quake out of their tents across the border in Pakistan.

Hours later, a top police official said reports trickling in from villages near the epicenter suggested there was little serious damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.7 quake was centered in the remote Hindu Kush mountains of northeastern Afghanistan. It struck shortly before 2:30 a.m


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Aid Workers: Pakistan Tents Insufficient

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan - Aid officials warned on Friday that almost all of the hundreds of thousands of tents distributed to quake survivors in Pakistan will not protect against the harsh Himalayan winter.

Pakistan's army said it was constructing 5,000 shelters a day out of corrugated metal for the 3.5 million left homeless amid fears of a second wave of deaths as conditions worsen in the coming weeks.

An estimated 87,000 died in the Oct. 8 temblor, which caused devastation across a vast swath of Pakistan and India, mostly in Kashmir, the disputed Himalayan region divided between them. Winter started last month, and hundreds stream into hospitals every day for cold-related ailments such as pneumonia.


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Fear, cold intensify in camps

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan (AFP) - Earthquake survivors in Pakistan said they fear for their future as a bitter winter intensifies and their life in makeshift tent camps becomes more miserable with each passing day.

Almost eight weeks after the devastating October 8 disaster, which killed more than 73,000 people, the fate of the 3.5 million others who were left homeless is far from secure.

Aid officials have warned for weeks that people in remote Himalayan villages are at risk of dying, but the situation in the refugee camps is causing increased concern as victims descend from the mountains.

"We survived the earthquake but we dont know if we will survive the winter," said Haji Abdul Rehman, living with his two sons and eight daughters in a single tent in Muzaffarabad, the ruined capital of Pakistani Kashmir.


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Survivors Ask Aid for Flu, Pneumonia

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan - Hundreds of survivors of Pakistan's huge earthquake filled hospitals Thursday for treatment of pneumonia and flu as temperatures plunged below freezing with the arrival of the brutal Himalayan winter.

Officials said eight people have died from the harsh weather.

Hospitals in the quake zone treated more than 700 people suffering from pneumonia, flu, hypothermia and other weather-related ailments Wednesday, and hundreds more on Thursday, officials said.


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Villagers wait for tents as freeze starts

BHERI, Pakistan (Reuters) - With winter starting to set in, some survivors of Pakistan's earthquake are without shelter, sufficient food or warm clothing nearly eight weeks after the disaster struck, aid officials said on Wednesday.

The first heavy snow fell across the region at the weekend but while there has been no spike in the mortality rate, more deaths were inevitable unless aid reaches victims soon, aid officials said.

The focus of the relief effort was shifting toward food, even though shelters were still needed, said Jean-Philipe Bourgeois, a field coordinator for the International Organization for Migration (IOM). "It's a combined problem. Not only food, not only shelter, but both."



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Pakistan won't extend NATO's quake mission

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - NATO troops involved in earthquake relief efforts can go home after their mission ends in February, Pakistan said on Thursday.

The Western alliance sent around 1,000 medics, engineers and helicopter support crews following the October 8 disaster, which killed more than 73,000 people in the mountains of northern Pakistan. The mission was given an initial 90-day mandate.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said no exact date had been fixed for the withdrawal of NATO troops, but Pakistan was not seeking any extension of their stay. "Yes, we are sticking to our plans (for withdrawal)," she said.


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Time runs out for animal survivors of Quake

HASSAN SERY, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistani farmer Shabir Naqvi lost six members of his family in last month's earthquake, among them his wife, daughter and father.

Struggling with his grief, the last thing Naqvi wanted to have to worry about was his small herd of cattle, so he sold them off at a fraction of the price he would have received before the quake.

"I couldn't look after my cattle because of the winter. I had a great interest in it but I couldn't do it," Naqvi said over a cup of tea outside his wrecked farmhouse, about 6 miles east of the devastated city of Muzaffarabad.


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Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt plan Pakistan visit

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan (AFP) - Hollywood stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are planning to travel to Pakistan to visit survivors of last month's massive earthquake, the United Nations said.

"She says they are coming in the next few days. We are still waiting for confirmation from headquarters," Vivian Tan, a spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Pakistan, told AFP.

Oscar-winner Jolie, a UNHCR goodwill ambassador, was quoted as saying by the BBC news website that she and Pitt would be travelling to Pakistan "within a matter of days."

The actors have been romantically linked since Pitt split from Friends star Jennifer Aniston and they starred together in the summer blockbuster movie "Mr. and Mrs. Smith."

Jolie last visited Pakistan in May this year to highlight the plight of millions of Afghan refugees living in the South Asian country.


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Australian PM pledges extra $37 Millions

DHANI, Pakistan (AFP) - Australia's Prime Minister John Howard visited Pakistan's devastated earthquake zone and announced a further 37 million dollars in aid for victims of the disaster.

Howard Wednesday gave details of the extra relief as he met Australian troops helping survivors in Dhani, a village near the devastated Pakistani Kashmir city of Muzaffarabad.


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Blair's wife makes plea for Pakistan aid

LONDON (AFP) - The wife of British Prime Minister Tony Blair has called for the world to take lasting action to help victims of the Pakistan earthquake.

Speaking at Pakistan's High Commission in London, top lawyer Cherie Blair compared the October 8 quake to the Indian Ocean tsunami and stressed that long-term aid is necessary.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has complained that the Western response to the earthquake has been sluggish compared with that following the December 26 tsunami because Westerners were not directly involved.

Blair said: "Pakistan has suffered a catastrophe as serious as the Asian tsunami that shook the world."

The quake, which measured 7.6 on the Richter scale, killed nearly 74,000 people and left a further three million homeless.


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