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Winter fires first salvo on Kashmir's survivors

07/12/05

Winter fires first salvo on Kashmir's desperate survivors

As winter fires its first salvo of shots across the mountainous Kashmir region, TEAR Fund is again warning thousands more earthquake victims could die if more is not done.

TEAR Fund's partners in the region are reporting the first evidence of snow and night temperatures as low as -10C. Hundreds of thousands of families are huddling together in tents and crowding over fires in a desperate attempt to keep warm. Most refuse to seek shelter elsewhere, believing their land and property will be stolen if they leave.

As icy winds howl through the mountainside tent-villages, cold related diseases, such as pneumonia, look set to explode into endemics, particularly amongst vulnerable children and the elderly.

"With a potentially fatal four-month winter season threatening, urgent action is required. Thousands could die without sufficient shelter. The tragedy of the Kashmir earthquake may have only just begun," says TEAR Fund Executive Director Stephen Tollestrup.

TEAR Fund is working in Pakistan and Indian administered Kashmir through the relief arm of the Integral Alliance. The aid organisation is distributing winterised tents, blankets, warm clothing, and is also constructing temporary shelters from the rubble of destroyed homes.

TEAR Fund is still receiving donations for its work with Kashmir's earthquake victims. To donate call 0800 800 777 (24hrs) or visit www.tearfund.org.nz

ENDS

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