Grandmother and daughter saved by British team

Maha Bibi and her 55-year-old daughter, Khalida Begum, who lived on the first floor of the block, survived for three days without food or water crouched in a tiny pocket of space.

They emerged into the light after a 16-hour recovery effort yesterday. " I'm so sorry to put you through all this trouble," Mrs Begum told her rescuer, John Holland of Rapid-UK, before being taken to hospital.

In the ruins of the north-western town of Balakot, a teenage boy was pulled from the rubble 78 hours after the Kashmir quake. People rushed to give food and water to the boy and kissed him on the head. The area where he was rescued smelt of decomposing corpses.

Although miraculous rescues have taken place up to 10 days after earthquakes, men can only survive for three days without food and water, while women can hold on to life for four days, according to medical experts.

The rescue teams are using hi-tech cameras and lifting gear to search for survivors under piles of concrete, steel and wood. They are helped by an army of volunteers who turn up with anything they can find: pickaxes, shovels and crowbars.

The weather was the main adversary of the rescue effort yesterday. Dozens of military helicopters from the US and Pakistan touched down briefly at Chaklala military airfield, while making sorties to the mountains where 2.5 million homeless survivors still await shelter and medical attention.

But by 1pm, freak thunder showers and hailstorms lashed the region and grounded all flights. Exasperated relief workers were further thwarted as mud and rockslides blocked newly cleared roads and delayed the convoy of supply trucks filled with donated tarpaulins, quilts, and powdered milk.

An emergency flight left the UK bound for Pakistan last night containing 800 tents which Oxfam will use to provide temporary shelter. The Boeing 747, laden with 19,000 blankets, which will be distributed by the Muslim charity Islamic Relief, was organised by the Disasters Emergency Committee.

Shaista Aziz, Oxfam's aid worker in Muzaffarabad, said: "The situation here is desperate, with thousands of people without shelter. Pregnant women are forced to sleep in the open." She said aid was being distributed in situ, to groups of four or five families. She added: "By distributing aid to the people in their villages we aim to avoid a movement of people into camps where disease could spread."

Fadela Chaib, spokeswoman for the UN's World Health Organisation said: " Measles could potentially become a serious problem. We fear that if people huddle closely together in temporary shelters and crowded conditions, more cases could occur." Measles, potentially deadly for children, is endemic in the region. Only 60 per cent of children are protected; 90 per cent coverage is needed to prevent an epidemic, the WHO said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable