The World: Disaster on the Indus

The week-long festivities of the Moslem sacrificial feast known as Eid-ul-Azha had not yet ended. Suddenly one evening as Pakistanis gathered in their local mosques for prayers an earthquake rumbled across the northern part of the country. Within moments, thousands of buildings collapsed into rubble, and some mountain villages were practically wiped from the map. By the time the tremors finally stopped 24 hours later, at least 5,100 people were dead, and more than 15,000 injured.

The worst effects of the quake centered on a 70-mile belt of the Karakoram Highway, which was built with the aid of the Chinese along the...

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