Field hospital in Balakot is picture of horror

The makeshift tent hospital at Balakot is a picture of horror: Children's crushed limbs hang limply from their bodies, badly injured people lie on cots soaked with blood and buzzing with flies, a little girl's brain is visible through the gaping wound in her skull.

As quickly as doctors treat the victims of last weekend's earthquake, more arrive. Many are carried in on the backs of relatives from surrounding villages where landslides have wiped out roads and prevented rescue workers from reaching them.

U.S. and Pakistani helicopters worked tirelessly Thursday to bring in supplies and evacuate victims of the 7.6-magnitude quake, but could not keep up with the influx of injured.

"The helicopters keep bringing in more supplies, so the medical supplies are fairly adequate, but we need more evacuation," said Dr. Uzer Khan. "At least we need the opening up of the roads so that doctors can take supplies to the villages that have not yet been reached and treat people there."

Khan, 22, who just graduated from medical school in Islamabad, headed with five of his friends from university to Balakot, one of the worst-hit towns, when he heard of the need for doctors there.

Arriving late Tuesday, they started work Wednesday at 7 a.m., helping five beleaguered Pakistani military doctors and six nurses. They worked for 14 hours straight, until they were exhausted.

"I don't know how many people we treated," Khan said. "Hundreds." Thursday morning, they started all over again.

"There's a lot of bone fractures, limbs and ribs, and since it's been a number of days, we're seeing a lot of infected wounds now," he said. "A lot of people have been coming from areas where the army hasn't been able to reach and have been walking for days."

Patients were being treated in tents near the Kunhar river, which divides the town. Only the most badly injured were being let into the area, where about 40 to 50 people waited at any given time for treatment.

Some lay in cots in the open air, others on the ground littered with human waste and garbage, reports the AP. I.L.

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