Pakistan - Desperate Pakistanis huddled against the cold and some looted food stores Monday as international aid still had not reached remote areas of mountainous Kashmir after a monster earthquake flattened villages, cut off power and water, and killed tens of thousands.
Officials predict the death toll, now estimated at between 20,000 and 30,000, will climb and fear that more could die from exposure or disease with winter just six weeks away. The United Nations has said 2.5 million people near the Pakistan-India border need shelter.
More than 48 hours after the magnitude-7.6 quake, survivors were still being rescued from under piles of concrete, steel and wood. A man was pulled from a pancaked two-story house in Muzaffarabad, two girls were plucked from a collapsed school in Balakot, and a woman and child were pulled from an apartment building in Islamabad.
Injured people were airlifted from remote areas, and Pakistan's army distributed rice to starving survivors.
President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who called Saturday's earthquake the country's worst on record, said his government was doing its best to respond to the crisis. He had appealed for international help, particularly cargo helicopters to reach remote areas cut off by landslides.
"We are doing whatever is humanly possible," Musharraf said. "There should not be any blame game. We are trying to reach all those areas where people need our help."
Eight U.S. helicopters — five Chinook transport choppers and three Blackhawks for heavy lifting — were diverted from the war in neighboring Afghanistan . They carried supplies, tarpaulins and equipment, including high-tech cameras for finding buried survivors.
"Pakistan is one of our closest allies in the war on terror and we want to help them in this time of crisis," said Sgt. Marina Evans, a U.S. military spokeswoman in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Washington pledged up to $50 million in relief and reconstruction aid, U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker said.
"We have under way the beginning of a very major relief effort," he said.
Pakistan also said it would accept aid from longtime rival India, which promised tents, food, medicine and other aid.
The nations have fought two wars over Kashmir, which both claim as theirs. Pakistan suffered the worst of the damage and casualties, and India reported 865 deaths in its portion of the Himalayan province.
However, Pakistan declined an offer of Indian helicopters to help distribute aid and has ruled out a joint rescue operation along the disputed frontier.
Planeloads of aid arrived from Britain, Japan, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. Rival India, Russia, China and Germany also offered assistance.
With winter approaching, thousands of Pakistanis who lost their homes huddled in tents and in the open. Many lit fires using wood from collapsed houses.
The capital of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, Muzaffarabad, was devastated, with at least 11,000 people reported dead. Assistant city commissioner Masood-ur Rehman said 90 percent of the city, and all its government and educational institutions, were destroyed. Relief efforts were hampered by roads buried by landslides.
"Bodies are scattered in the city," he said. "Ninety percent of victims are still buried under the debris. We are helpless. The city is out of order."
In one neighborhood, shopkeepers scuffled with looters scavenging crushed stores for cooking oil, rice, biscuits and flour.
The storeowners and looters fought with large sticks and threw stones, and some looters suffered head wounds. No police were in the area.
"We haven't eaten anything for two or three days. The shops are closed and we haven't got anything from the government," said a 20-year-old man who refused to identify himself as he ferreted away stolen goods.
"We are desperate and hungry."