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News :: International
American Muslims Reach Remote Kashmir Village
17 Oct 2005
Sponsor an Orphan in Kashmir
Orphans of Kashmir

For Muhammed and Waheed Kauser, Saturday began as any other day with their four children leaving joyfully for school.

By the evening the loving parents would be lying crushed to death under a pile of rubble and their children would join an ever growing number of orphans.

Sabah, 12, Aqsa, 10, Khurram, 8 and Azam, 5, will now be left in the caring hands of other relatives as the village of Surong comes to terms with the total destruction that fell upon it.

Sabah now stands as the eldest sibling and she must guide and comfort her younger brothers and sisters through the tragedy of losing both parents.

But it seems that they don’t even have any time to mourn as each day becomes a matter of survival.

Aid reaches a remote village
Every single house in the tiny village lies in a pile of rubble, and it wasn’t until Thursday 13 October, five days after the disaster, that the first convoy of help reached them.

Islamic Relief was the first aid agency of any kind to reach the helpless villagers and the arrival of blankets is a temporary solution to the winter chill.

During the showers that are becoming more and more frequent with the onset of the Kashmiri winter, the women huddle under a makeshift tent while the men remain exposed to the elements.

Village elder, Zahir Ud Din said: "We can live without food but it rains all the time. We only have the clothes that we are wearing; we trust in Allah that he will help us."

The village has no plans to rebuild for at least five to seven months and at the moment the main priority is just survival.

It is like many remote villages which are scattered all over Kashmir – virtually inaccessible and that means urgent aid is by passing them by.

Wasim Yaqub, UK Manager for Islamic Relief who delivered aid to the villagers said: "Their plight is horrific. We just about got there by using a 4x4, there’s no way that trucks will be able to get to these areas, some villages on the sides of mountains are even inaccessible to choppers."

"There are a lot of villages which have not been reached so far and almost a week has passed – they need blankets and tents and we have to get it to them by any means necessary."

Yet despite the tragedy the villagers still found time to visit surrounding villages enquiring about the well-being of their neighbours.

Report by Jamsheed Din, IR correspondent in Pakistan


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