BAGH, Pakistan – Subfreezing temperatures and the first snowfall in Kashmir claimed the life of an infant Monday – the first reported victim of what officials fear will be a new disaster for millions of Pakistanis left homeless by an earthquake. A middle-aged man with terminal cancer also died after he was taken to a hospital suffering from hypothermia. “This is exactly what we had feared. Our position here is we need to continue to do as much as possible to help mitigate this situation and prevent, insofar as that’s possible, any such occurrences in the future,” said Stephanie Bunker of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Another U.N. official, Elisabeth Byrs, said the relief effort remains underfunded and, according to the Pakistani military, at least 300,000 people are still inaccessible in remote Himalayan regions. They have no homes or tents, she said. “If we don’t get people into shelters, they will die. It’s as simple as that,” said Air Commodore Andrew Walton, commander of the NATO disaster response team in Pakistan. “That’s the second disaster that’s waiting to happen if we in the international community don’t do something about it,” he said at a NATO field hospital in Bagh, a town in Pakistan’s part of disputed Kashmir. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals Troops and aid workers are building shelters as fast as they can. But it is not fast enough for those who have been living rough since the Oct. 8 earthquake killed more than 87,000 people and left hundreds of thousands with no shelter from the heavy rains and fresh blanket of snow over the last two days as the region’s harsh winter set in. “It is only the beginning of winter. We are concerned,” said Byrs, spokeswoman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Geneva. “The race to provide suitable shelter in time is not lost yet, but the consequences resulting from a lack of funds could result in more deaths of vulnerable people,” such as the elderly and infants. Of the 500,000 tents the United Nations purchased and stockpiled for quake relief, about 165,000 have yet to be delivered while weather conditions worsen every day, she said. Stoves and corrugated iron sheeting also are urgently required because many of the tents are not winterized, Byrs said. So far, the U.N. has received $216 million in emergency relief funds, only 39 percent of its appeal for $550 million. All helicopters were grounded by bad weather Sunday and did not resume flying until later Monday, Byrs said. She said the U.N.’s agency for children already reported difficulties in transporting water and sanitation gear into the Niloum Valley.
Cold the new killer in Pakistan’s quake area