A top UN official said the race against the Himalayan winter to help 3 million homeless victims of South Asia's earthquake is a nightmare worse than last year's tsunami, while three deaths from tetanus in the quake zone fanned fears that illness will drive up the death toll of 79,000.
NATO countries should launch "a second Berlin airlift" with helicopters flying supplies and evacuating victims by the thousands, the UN relief coordinator Jan Egeland said in Geneva, referring to the nonstop flights by Western pilots into West Berlin in the 1940s when Soviet forces sealed off the city.
NATO was expected on Friday to approve a dispatch of medics and military engineers to clear roads in the quake zone spanning from northwestern Pakistan into Indian territory and centered in the Pakistani portion of divided Kashmir. But allied commanders are struggling to muster helicopters needed to carry aid into remote mountains.
In Kashmir, snow already has begun to fall in high mountains, and some villages face subzero temperatures at night, and aid workers fear casualties will rise because communities are without adequate food, shelter or health care.