Officials in earthquake-hit Pakistan say search and rescue operations for any survivors have ended, and that the effort now is to provide relief for millions of people who are hungry and left out in the open.
United Nations emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland told a news conference in Islamabad Friday, the cruel reality is that very few people can survive after a week. So, he said, aid agencies are now focusing on providing food and shelter to the millions who need it. He appealed for more helicopters to get relief supplies into remote regions.
Mr. Egeland said it will take five to ten years and billions of dollars for the area devastated by the October 8 quake to return to normal.
Weather experts say a thunderstorm is expected in Pakistan in the next 24 hours and that it may hamper relief efforts.
Earlier today, Pakistan was jolted by another strong aftershock. Local meteorological officials say such seismic activity could continue for months.
The official death toll so far stands at more than 25,000 in Pakistan and 1400 in Indian Kashmir.
India has decided to pay $2,300 each to the owners of some 40,000 homes destroyed by the quake in Indian Kashmir. Because the homes can not be rebuilt before the oncoming winter, government engineers will build 20 community centers - each with a capacity to host 3,000 people.
In Washington, President Bush went to the Pakistani embassy to sign the condolences book and express the sympathy of the American people.
Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.