Sunday, December 17, 2017
News Roundup

Pakistan aid chopper targeted; 355 dead in quake

LABACH, Pakistan — Separatist militants fired two rockets that narrowly missed a Pakistani government helicopter surveying a region devastated by an earthquake, underscoring the dangers authorities face in helping victims in Baluchistan, the country's most impoverished province.

The doctor in charge of the main hospital in the area said the facility doesn't even have an X-ray machine or a laboratory and that supplies of crucial medicines were running low, as the death toll from Tuesday's magnitude 7.7 quake climbed to 355 with nearly 700 people injured.

Survivors complained that aid was not reaching remote areas.

"We don't even have tents to cover my kids," said Haji Wajd Ali, who lives in the village of Labach, where every other house was destroyed.

"There are no shops. There is no food. There is no water," he said as temperatures reached 100 degrees during the day.

Labach lies just a few miles outside the capital of Awaran district, one of the poorest in Baluchistan. In the town of Awaran, about 100 people demonstrated around the district office to call attention to the plight of those still waiting for help. The quake flattened wide sections of the district, leaving hundreds of people crushed or injured beneath the crumbled piles of mostly mud brick houses.

Helping the residents has been made even harder by the danger from Baluchistan separatists who have been battling the Pakistani government for years.

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