Quake Leaves 2.5 Million Homeless

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan -- Aircraft rushed in supplies from abroad and Washington pledged $50 million in aid Monday as hungry families displaced in Pakistan's worst earthquake huddled in tents and shopkeepers clashed with looters. Death toll estimates ranged from 20,000 to above 30,000.

The United Nations said more than 2.5 million people were left homeless by Saturday's monster 7.6-magnitude quake, which razed entire villages, and doctors warned of an outbreak of disease unless more relief arrives soon.

With landslides blocking roads to many of the worst-hit areas, Pakistan's army was flying food, water and medicine into the disaster zone. Flights carrying rescue teams and supplies arrived in Islamabad, including eight U.S. military helicopters from Afghanistan.

Washington pledged up to $50 million in relief and reconstruction aid, U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker said. "The magnitude of this disaster is utterly overwhelming," Crocker said. "We have under way the beginning of a very major relief effort."

Most of the dead were in Pakistan's mountainous north. India reported at least 865 deaths, and Afghanistan reported four.

In the shattered streets of Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan's portion of divided Kashmir, an Associated Press reporter saw shopkeepers scuffle with people trying to break into shuttered businesses. They beat each other with sticks, and some people suffered head wounds. No police were in the area.

Residents said looters also targeted deserted homes, and even gas stations. Survivors lacked food and water amid little sign of any official coordination of relief in the devastated city of 600,000, where at least 11,000 people died.

An eight-member team of British rescuers using a sniffer dog, drills, chain saws and crowbars pulled a 20-year-old tailor from the rubble Monday, 54 hours after a two-story building collapsed over him and dozens of others.

The man, Tariq, was wide-eyed and covered in dust when he emerged, and he begged for water.

About 2,000 people huddled around camp fires through the cold night on a soccer field on the city's university campus, where most buildings had collapsed and hundreds were feared buried in classrooms and dormitories. Soldiers burrowed into the concrete with shovels and iron bars.

A doctor, Iqbal Khan, said there was a serious risk of outbreaks of diseases such as diarrhea and pneumonia if drinking water and other relief supplies did not arrive quickly.

"These people feel as if there is no one to take care of them," he said.

Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf has said the earthquake was the country's worst on record and appealed for urgent help, particularly cargo helicopters to reach remote areas.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said his country's death toll was 19,396 and was expected to rise. Senior officials in Pakistan's portion of Kashmir put the death toll much higher. The top elected official in the region, Sardar Sikandar Hayat, said that more than 25,000 people had died there with "countless" injured. Tariq Mahmood, the province's communications minister, put the toll at over 30,000.

 Russia stepped up its aid to Pakistan on Monday, sending a mobile hospital and a planeload of tents, beds, blankets and other supplies, the Emergency Situations Ministry said.

A plane carrying a mobile hospital, medical equipment and medicines as well as 32 medical personnel and 15 rescuers, took off from an airfield near Moscow in the late afternoon, ministry spokeswoman Maria Ardynskaya said.

An Il-76 plane that arrived in Pakistan from Moscow earlier Monday carried 190 tents with a capacity of between 10 and 30 places, 2,300 bedding sets, 750 collapsible beds, mattresses, pillows and blankets, Ardynskaya said.