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Thousands Feared Killed in Powerful South Asia Earthquake


Rescue teams in Pakistan and India are battling driving rain and freezing temperatures as they continue to search for survivors following Saturday's massive earthquake centered in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

Authorities in Pakistan Sunday said the official death toll has risen past 1,700 in hard-hit North West Frontier Province. A spokesman for President Pervez Musharraf says thousands are feared dead in Kashmir, which appears to have borne the brunt of the powerful quake.

The magnitude 7.6 earthquake triggered massive landslides and flattened entire villages throughout the region. Buildings collapsed as far away as Islamabad, burying hundreds in the rubble. In Pakistan, helicopters flew rescuers into areas where communications lines were down and heavy rain and mudslides have blocked many roads.

Meanwhile, in Indian-controlled Kashmir, officials have confirmed more than 200 deaths, including soldiers stationed along the truce line separating Indian and Pakistani forces in the divided territory.

In a further sign of easing tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called Mr. Musharraf to offer help with rescue and relief efforts.

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