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Saturday 8 October 2005

Quake shakes subcontinent; thousands feared killed

ISLAMABAD, Oct 8 (Reuters) - A major earthquake shook cities and villages across the south Asian subcontinent on Saturday, "wiping out" several villages in Pakistan and leading to fears that the death toll could run into thousands.

Officials said heavy damage was expected in northern Pakistan, but details were difficult to obtain because telephone lines were down and mobile networks overwhelmed.

"The deaths could be running in the thousands. We do not have an exact figure for casualties at this moment, but it's massive," President Pervez Musharraf's spokesman, Major-General Shaukat Sultan, told Reuters following a aerial survey of stricken areas.

The earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.6, struck at 0350 GMT and was centred in forest-clad mountains of Pakistani Kashmir, near the Indian border, about 95 km (60 miles) northeast of Islamabad.

Source: Reuters AlertNet
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