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Remote quake-hit villages will stay cut off until spring

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ROUTES INTO remote towns and villages hit by the Kashmir earthquake will remain cut off until next year, engineers in the region said this week.

'The number of blocked roads is very substantial. In some cases roads have been completely washed away and need total reconstruction, ' said MapAction operational director Nigel Woof.

'The winters are pretty harsh out there so these routes will remain closed until after the winter.' MapAction is a charity that enters disaster zones and creates maps using satellite imagery and local reports. The maps are then distributed to local charities, government and aid workers. The charity has just returned following a two week mission to the area. Woof is also an environmental consultant at WSP.

So far 51,000 people are reported to have died in the 8 October earthquake and the United Nations warned this week that this is set to increase as aid workers struggle to gain access to remote areas.

Helicopters are being used to drop supplies over approximately 30,000km 2 of high-altitude terrain, and worsening weather conditions are slowing the efforts.

'There are also two or three aftershocks a day and landslides are still happening, ' said MapAction GIS offi cer and Arup analyst Kathrin Renner, who has just returned from the area.

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