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Sanjay Gupta: From the Quake Zone

Aired December 31, 2005 - 18:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: The world shook on October 8, leaving tens of thousands dead, millions homeless, struggling to survive out in the cold mountain air. "From the Quake Zone," Dr. Sanjay Gupta brings us the stories of the hurting hearts.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Malik Nurasen (ph) lived right here, his entire family now lives with him. On the morning of October 8, you could actually see what happened. All the devastation, a crack appeared, the entire earth started moving and parts of his home just completely washed away, wiped away by the earthquake.

It's hard to believe that this was actually a school once. These are actually tables over here, a bench for the students over here. This is where they studied. You have notepads still lying on the ground, pencils. All still standing just the way it was on October 8.

And then over here just a whole collection of papers and books. Someone came back and wrote on this chalkboard in Urdu afterwards, it reads "On October 8, 2005 the earth shook and wreaked havoc."

ANNOUNCER: The helping hands.

GUPTA: Now one of the most important things you got to be able to do, it to be able operate, take care of people who need operations, right away, just behind me, over here, is the operating theater.

One patient has just had their operation completed. They're being woken up and at the same time, another patient has just been put off to sleep. Their operation will start momentarily.

ANNOUNCER: The hope.

GUPTA: The woman you're about to see is the longest survivor ever of who someone who was trapped after an earthquake or after any sort of disaster. She was found covered with dust, severely starved and dehydrated, unable to communicate and listless. But she was alive and the patient (UNINTELLIGIBLE) brought her to the hospital. It's remarkable.

ANNOUNCER: These are the people in need. These are their stories. Now, CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports "From the Quake Zone."



GUPTA (voice-over): We had heard the numbers over and over: More than 80,000 dead and more dying every day. But it was numbers and just numbers, and it wasn't until I walked right into the middle of a funeral procession that it started to really sink in.

It happened just moments after we arrived at the small village of Maraponalia (ph) in northeastern Pakistan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much, my son. Man of the Marcha (ph).

GUPTA (on camera): The men of the village here, a small village in the foothills of the Himalayas, have all gathered for a scene that has replayed itself too many times over the past months. Just behind me is the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) clothed body of a person who has recently died as a result of the earthquake, here in Pakistan. A prayer will take place, then the body will be buried.

(voice-over): The communities here have always been tight-knit for sure, nearly every man taking part in this ceremony. They face Mecca, bring their hands together and pray. But the strongest earthquake to strike Pakistan in more than 70 years has bound them closer than ever before.

We learned quickly, and perhaps it was obvious -- even if they lived, no one here escaped this earthquake

(on camera): I want to give you a little sense of what happened here. If you take a look at this mountain, you can see an entire chunk of the mountain actually just fell straight down. What you're looking at, all that rubble underneath there, beneath all that was an entire village. As you might imagine, as was the case here, nobody in this village survived.

(voice-over): The stories came quickly, the villagers, anxious to share. Some told us what happened to that man in the funeral procession. What happened here.

(on camera): The house that you're looking at was actually a house that was completely devastated by the earthquake. A man and two women lived there, on his wife, one his child. The two women both died. The man wasible to survive for a couple of months, but also passed away today.

These are the most traumatic images I have seen, and while can you never measure just how bad a natural disaster is -- I have seen far too many this year including the tsunami in South Asia, and Katrina in New Orleans.

(on camera): Malik Nurasen (ph) has lived right here. His entire family now lives with him. On the morning of October 8, you could actually see what happened, all the devastation. A crack appeared, the entire earth started moving and parts of his home just completely washed away, wiped away by the earthquake, falling down the hill. This is what happened on that day, this is what happened as a result of this earthquake. Take a look in here.

(voice-over): Malik Nurasen will try to brave the winter here in his own home, reluctant to ever leave his property. You see, there are no land deeds in many parts of Pakistan. He is worried he will never get his land back.

But many others didn't have that as an option. Their homes, beyond ruined, they all have a new and they hope temporary way of life.

(on camera): One of the things I was so struck by was just how massive this place is. Those are the Himalayan Mountains all behind me, and we are in the foothills of those mountains. This is one of the many villages of tents that sprung up immediately after the earthquake. There's about 6,000 people living here in about 1,000 tents. That's six people per tent, that's actually considered pretty good.

I want to point out a couple of things, though, that are concerning. One is these tents are not winterized. They will not protect against the rain, the will not protect against the immense cold, and it is getting colder here now, much cold -- much more colder at night, below freezing for sure. The ground is getting hard, and it's become increasingly difficult to dig, to even pound these stakes into the ground. Still, the U.N. informs these people that they'll be living here for about six months. At this altitude even I'm becoming a little bit short of breath. Still, the people so concerned they are about aftershocks and more debris coming down from the mountains. They want to live as high as possible, so people are continuing to move up the hill.

(voice-over): Gofer Azkan (ph) used to live way up in the mountains. A header of livestock, his home now gone. He looks older and has experienced far more than his 22 years of life would have you believe. He has put together two tents for his family. He tells me this one sleeps six and has absolutely no heat. It is quite cold in there. Also, this is all the food for his entire family: A half a pot of rice, a quarter bag of flour, and a small handful of sprouts.

Even though he's optimistic, I couldn't help but wonder which would be more difficult for him to overcome, the cold or the starvation.

(on camera): They give a little prayer to the dirt and they throw the dirt onto the gravesite.

(voice-over): These are all the stories, tales of so much death and the struggle to survive, at nearly 3,000 feet above sea level, in 30 degree temperatures as winter comes, roaring so far away from help.

(on camera): You know, it's really hard to get a sense of what exactly happened during his earthquake. I actually come to roads like this, places like this you can see, and in fact all of these structures are just completely gone, I mean, completely demolished. People who were living here are displaced. But even more striking were the roads like this. I mean, the roads, just very narrow roads, only one car can pass at a time, big landslides, big boulders -- boulders the size of homes actually crashing on these roads, they had to be removed before any kind of relief, any kind of media, anybody could get in here.

Now you're actually starting to see some vehicles pass for the first time.



ANNOUNCER: Now help is arriving from around the world. Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes us inside this MASH unit for a doctor's perspective on how U.S. soldiers are saving lives in the quake zone.

And she's being call the miracle survivor. Trapped under a cripple mountain for two months, she's found alive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a phenomenal story and from tragedies, both national and so forth, there are always cases of survival that are absolutely fantastic.

ANNOUNCER: How did they survive? Her story, just ahead. But first, here's how you can help.



GUPTA (voice-over): In the mountains of Pakistan, you need two functioning legs to survive. They tell me anything less and like an animal, you die. In other words, to lose a leg here is a death sentence. That's why they worry about 10-year-old Abita Danon (ph). She now has only one leg. The other crushed when the walls and roof of her school buckled all around her.

CAPT. JOHN FERNALD, MASH PEDIATRICIAN: One of the true disasters in pediatrics is all the schools that collapsed. So, you know, every kid -- we see so many kids (INAUDIBLE).

GUPTA: Abita was one of three children to survive out of more than 200, but she is considered lucky.

(on camera): It's hard to believe that this was actually a school once. These are actually tables over here, a bench for the students over here. This is where they studied. You have notepads still lying on the ground, pencils. All still standing just the way it was on October 8. I also couldn't help but notice the signs around the room, this one in particular, out of the frying pan into the fire with the Urdu translation underneath. How eerily true.

And then over here, a whole collection of papers and books. Someone came back and wrote on this chalkboard in Urdu afterwards, it reads "On October 8, 2005, the earth shook and wreaked havoc" and it certainly did for so many students in this school and so many members of this community. (voice-over): It was also a description of what happened to Abita Danon. She was so fragile, so badly injured, simply moving her meant it would take over a month to get her to the hospital, if she could get there at all. By the time she did arrive, she was infected and nearly dead.

MAJ. JEFFREY DEAN, MD, MASH ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON: Bones were sticking out of the skin for 30 days before they were treated and then the infection is just persistent and, you know, it requires a lot of trips to the operating room.

GUPTA: Nine operations so far. It would take all the resources of the U.S. Army's 212 MASH Unit to coax her leg and life back to health.

A MASH unit. Remember? A Mobile Army Surgical Hospital and this is the last MASH in existence. After it's gone, MASH will be disbanded in favor of smaller more nimble units. But here, in northeastern Pakistan, 200 patients a day are lucky MASH is still open for business. Here, a young boy with scabies. This man simply can't sleep. A woman who's lost all feeling in her hand.

And some of the stories are just too much to bear. Dr. Mohammed Hoc (ph) from New York City is volunteering. A Pakistani-American doctor and Muslim. He took care of Americans after 9/11.

DR. MOHAMMED HOC (ph), VOLUNTEER FROM NEW YORK: I saw 9/11, the tower went down. That was 9:00, 8:30. (inaudible) might not have lost. But they bring a baby, the babies...

GUPTA: No matter how hard he works, he can never bring back a young girl's mother. This woman was carrying her baby that morning and even though she broke her arm trying, she could not save her baby's life. My own daughter is six months old, these stories, so incredibly hard to hear.

And this is just one day, all of this pain and grief in just 24 hours at the MASH unit here in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan.

DR. FAREED SHEIKH: So basically, this lady is 40-year-old female. She had ARDS (ph) lung failure.

GUPTA: It's worth pointing out, you know, you get tremendously ill patients here. I mean, this woman is on a breathing machine. She has her monitoring over here, as well. She has chest tubes in which are actually draining some of the fluid from her lungs, taking the pressure off of her lungs, as well, probably. As just pointed a patient like this would probably die in any teaching hospital here in Pakistan, but in this tent, here in the middle of Muzaffarabad, she may actually survive this type of injury and that's what we are seeing here as we're spending some time with this MASH unit here.

SHEIKH: She had medical problems before, they weren't really taken care of, on top of that, some of them had trauma, so it's very difficult to take care of them, yeah. GUPTA: Dr. Fareed Sheikh (ph) is also hoping provide something that didn't exist before in many parts of Pakistan, basic healthcare. According to the World Health Organization, immunization rates for disease have climbed in this area. Before, less than 50 percent had been immunized. Now it is above 70 percent. Life changing operations such as hernia repairs and removal of a goiter of the thyroid gland were considered elective, a luxury but are now performed free of charge.

(on camera): Now, one of the most important things you have got to be able to do is to be able to operate, take care of people who need operations right away. Just behind me over here is the operating theater. One patient has just had their operation completed. They're being woken up. At the same time, another patient has just been put off to sleep. Their operation will start momentarily.

(voice-over): As for little 10-year-old Abita Danon with the crushed leg, when she found herself in the middle of an earthquake, she didn't even know what to call it. The Urdu word is zalzila (ph) but she had never needed to learn it. Today, her life is forever changed by zalzila. Her school and home will be rebuilt probably stronger than before. And the doctors at the 212th MASH have given her her leg back, but for the time being it is unclear how long they'll be staying or what will happen to her after they leave.



ANNOUNCER: Coming up next:

GUPTA: We just landed as one of the worst area hit area the Pakistan earthquake and I want to point out one of the most well organized camps that we've seen. About 16,000 people living here in these small villages around the camp, all around this mountain here the Indus River, all the way up, about 195,000 people, all in this area. As the winter gets colder and the temperatures start to drop, they're coming down by foot, many of them, entire family, entire villages, into these tents around here.

ANNOUNCER: Meet the man who's taking charge in the most remote refugee camps of the quake zone.




GUPTA: And you just got call said...

COLONEL AHMAD FARAZ, PAKISTAN ARMY: We just got a call and by the ninth I think we were here.

(voice-over): On October 9, just one day after the earthquake, Colonel Ahmad Faraz flew straight to the epicenter. When he arrived, the Allai Valley was a bloody, muddy, broken mess. Amid criticism that the Pakistani army was too slow to act, Faraz and a small group of troops are assigned to turn Allai Valley into a safe refuge for tens of thousands of people.

The valley is in northwest Pakistan. It is among the most remote and difficult to reach places in all of Asia. To understand what was happening to the people here meant paying the colonel a visit. We started by car, bone crushing hours in a small van.

(on camera): So we are traveling through the mountains here near a place called Bahd (ph), one of the worst hit areas by the earthquake and, I mean, you can't escape it. It's inescapable all around us that the devastation by the earthquake, all these buildings.

(voice-over): And impossible to travel by car to areas higher up in the mountains. Landslides have destroyed many of these ancient roads beyond repair.

A helicopter was the only way to get to the colonel. Though these mountains may look desolate, hundreds of thousands of people live here. Tens of thousands have already died, many of them children.

Many more are still alive, but profoundly vulnerable. After surviving untreated injuries, dehydration, starvation and outbreaks of disease, there is now a good chance untold numbers could freeze to death.

FARAZ: And, you know, first they are saved (ph) and then families and then again and again. I think in the fifth week, fifth week of this camp, I have 16,000 people and still people are coming.

GUPTA: Many of these people have never left their small plots of land. Getting them to come to the safety of this camp meant thinking like they do. That means Colonel Faraz and the private aid agencies working here are caring for not only for these people but also for their livelihood.

(on camera): A lot of these people would not come out of the mountains, would not have come to camps like this unless they could bring their animals with them, their livestock, that is the livelihood. And so many places, we've heard this over and over again, they treat their livestock better than they treat their own children in some ways. They're not only members of their family but they are also a significant source of income and what this organization has done here, Wave the Children, USAID, actually create a place not only to keep the animals warm and safe from the element, but also to provide them food. And that was a big incentive to actually allow many of these families come down here.

(voice-over): And they continue to come. Make no mistake, there has been a long deep distrust of the military by the mountaineers, yet they still line up because they believe in Faraz.

FARAZ: Look how organized they are.

GUPTA (on camera): Yeah.

FARAZ: You can talk with them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, sir. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says thank you.

GUPTA: He's thanking you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. He is helping this tent village. Thank you very much.

GUPTA (voice-over): They're learning Urdu, the official Pakistani language. And the camp is working. This is the largest refugee camp in Pakistan. We saw absolutely no violence or looting. In fact, as soon as I met the colonel, I was reminded of another military leader who changed the tenor of the relief effort in New Orleans, General Russell Honore.

GENERAL RUSSELL HONORE, U.S. NATIONAL GUARD: Put that weapon down off your back. You're delivering food.

GUPTA: Both men have proved a critically important point about relief. Money and resources alone won't promise success. Effective relief depends on strong leadership.

FARAZ: What is this? What is this?

CROWD: Chin.

FARAZ: What is this?

CROWD: Nose.

CROWD: Eyes.

CROWD: Eyebrows.

GUPTA: Turns out, saving lives wasn't Faraz's only agenda. He wanted to tackle something much more profound. He hopes this tragedy can help bring Pakistan into the 21st century, learning new languages and changing the culture.

FARAZ: OK. Sanjay. OK. She will tell you the national anthem.



FARAZ: So this is -- this is the children (UNINTELLIGIBLE). This is what I want to show you. The (UNINTELLIGIBLE) people. Then look at their faces, everybody's happy.

GUPTA: Of course, you are just seeing a small slice of the relief in Pakistan. And surely, not everyone is happy. Forty-five-year-old Reyaz Mohammed (ph) was injured in the earthquake. He began having fits or seizures. The volunteer nurses who will alone see more than 200 patients today are at a loss.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fifteen minutes ago, and I see one just now like this.

GUPTA: Everyone is recruited to help.

(on camera): This is a big problem around here, around here, because you're seeing patients that have no history. Their CAT scans, all their records were actually destroyed by the earthquake. So, they show up here, as this gentlemen did, with a seizure and nobody knows exactly what to do in this case.

You can just drink this?

FARAZ: Yeah.

GUPTA: That's good.


GUPTA: Tastes pretty good.

(voice-over): Colonel Faraz knows he won't be able to take care of Reyez Mohammed and many of the sick and needy in Pakistan. But he will do what he can to provide clean water, warm tents and basic hygiene.

(on camera): Have most of the people here use toilets before?

FARAZ: Never seen any -- I mean, surely, it's a clean area. No smell.

GUPTA: Right. There is no smell.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sixteen thousand people and it's very neat and clean.

GUPTA (voice-over): He dreams of much more.

FARAZ: I think we are going to have a batch toilets and bathrooms every in the tents. This is going to be the metropolitan city, not (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Islamabad.

GUPTA (on camera): This is going to be a metropolitan city?

FARAZ: Yeah.

GUPTA (voice-over): Given the need and suffering here, Colonel Faraz is determined to make it possible.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ANNOUNCER: As the military and aid grew to rush help, will a frigid winter proved to be a knockout punch in this fight for life? That story, just ahead.

Plus we take to the skies to show you the most amazing pictures yet. Entire mountain sides, gone right before your eyes. And a story some find too incredible to believe. This woman defies all the odds, crushed in the rubble for than two months, but pull out alive.



CAROL LIN, CNN HOST: Good evening. I'm Carol Lin at the CNN Center in Atlanta, and here's a look at what's happening right now.

If you don't know what day it is, wake up, sleepy head. It's New Year's Eve, and the center of the East Coast New Year's celebration is, of course, Times Square, New York City. That's where we find CNN's Erica Hill, trying to stay warm. Erica, how's it going out there?

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I am staying warm, because we got a lot of people around. It's going great. The crowd is on fire, getting excited. Right about now, around 6:30, is when they start to get their goody bags. Some of the things you're getting in the goody bag: you need a silly hat every year, right, so you'll see plenty of these in the crowd, a little jester's hat -- maybe we'll get Anderson to wear one later tonight. They're also going to get some pompoms. All kind of stuff in here: gloves, ear warmers -- everything you need to stay warm and help ring in the New Year.

We're going to show you plenty of those shots right here on CNN. Our coverage begins tonight at 11:00 with Anderson Cooper. Right back over to you, Carol.

LIN: We'll see you then, and make sure Anderson gets a goody bag, too.

HILL: We will. One is stashed away.

LIN: Terrific.

When the ball falls you will know that CNN will be there. Anderson Cooper is hosting our coverage from Times Square. Live music, lots of celebrities and America's greatest New Year's Eve party. It all begins at 11:00 Eastern tonight.

Another check of the headlines in 30 minutes. Right now, back to CNN's SPECIAL REPORT from the Quake Zone.

ANNOUNCER: Entire mountainsides have collapsed, leaving roads demolished, bridges broken and access to those who need help almost impossible, except by air. Travel with Dr. Sanjay Gupta into the quake zone and meet the woman who survived against all odds, and who's now fighting for her life. But first --

GUPTA: We're about a mile in the sky, in a village called Chenyati (ph) where lots of work is taking place to try and take care of the people around this area -- about 60,000 of them as the winter looms. Let me point a couple things out to you. First of all, you have all sorts of different food items. This is from the World Food Program, from Australia. These are actually split peas, being made available to people in the area.

When you come around here, you see lots of different wheat. What struck me, is that it's from so many different countries: from the United States obviously, from Japan as well, You see some soya over here. This is a type of oil. This is from Canada. Then more World Food Program flour over here. Also have these high-calorie biscuits for kids. These biscuits over here are from Norway, the World Food Program. Let me take these out here. I want to show you these biscuits -- fortified biscuits, gift of Norway. These are being made available in schools, they're about 450 calories each, trying to provide enough calories for the kids as they're going to school, and for their families as well.

ANNOUNCER: It's a race against time to save millions of homeless refugees from the killing freeze of winter. Will new emergency plans be enough to keep the quake survivors alive? Here again is CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

GUPTA: Since the earthquake of October 8th in Pakistan, there have been more than 2,000 aftershocks. It seems the earth is always trembling, and it has left a feeling of everything being unsettled, both physically and psychologically.

But as we learned, the greatest threat to the more than 2 million displaced survivors was not coming from the ground, but from the air. It's getting cold. Really cold. The snow has already started to fall in the hilltop town of Gungwal (ph). Snow-covered peaks with impossibly blue rivers running through them.

Today, the Agha Khan Foundation brings supplies. As I watch the young boys and men jostle for the few bags, it never seems like enough. Never before have I seen relief at such a raw level. Simply, if these supplies hadn't arrived, many of these people would have probably died within the next few weeks. I know many of them still will.

Ten-year-old Javad (ph) 13-year-old Masur (ph) are brothers. They lost their mother during the quake, and their father is too ill to help. So -- and this is too often the case -- young boys are quickly turned in to men, as they move their family from higher in the mountains to this village.

(on camera): So he's moved here because it's too cold?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because their houses are all gone. So they decided to go to that place. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they have nine brothers and sister in that tent. They're burning wood to keep them warm. They're all right.

GUPTA (voice-over): Their job today is to try and hoist at least one of these 50-pound bags of supplies up the side of one of these mountains to their home. They don't want any help, afraid someone will steal their bag. Their hands are working hands, already far too calloused and cracked for such a young age. But they do have shoes -- more than this boy can say. No shoes, no jacket, no gloves, and some would say no chance at survival.

Today it is below freezing. As he curls his toes in a futile attempt to stay warm, it looks to me like frost bite may have already claimed his black feet. He runs away when I offer him my coat.

(on camera): The snow has started to fall in many places of Pakistan as you can see here, and it is a tremendously large problem. Obviously it is very cold, but even more pragmatically speaking, it just makes this area absolutely uninhabitable. What you want to do is to be able to drive stakes into the ground here. You absolutely can't do it. The ground is just too tough. Some of the people around here are telling me they can't even dig to bury people. They can't even dig their own graves.

And get this -- even when the snow starts to melt, all of this water will come down and cause significant mudslides. One problem on top of another. Right now, a lot of people are trying to be encouraged to move to lower ground to get away from all this. But as you can see, so many people are still staying around here.

(voice-over): The Pakistani government has set up tent relief camps like this one. But many aid organizations are trying to help people stay where they live and continue the lives they know.

ROGER DEAN, GOAL FOUNDATION: And every person, there's no selection criteria. Everybody gets what they need to stay alive this winter.

GUPTA: A few miles away, Roger Dean with the Goal Foundation is fighting for the life of that boy with no shoes, and everyone else in the area.

(on camera): Tells us what's going on here.

DEAN: What we've got here is we've got the logistical base for Goal in this area. We've got our shelter and food programs, all being supplied from here. So we're having all the metal sheets for people to build their home, winter shelters coming out from here.

GUPTA: We're about a mile in the sky, now, about 5000 feet or so. What's been the biggest challenge to get all this done?

DEAN: The time scale. We're working against a very, very tight time scale. We could have had snow any day. As you can see outside, the cloud has come in overnight. This is new for today, and that's a bad sign. That means rain's on the way, and when there's rain there's snow. So anything can happen.

GUPTA (voice-over): Goal and many relief organizations, including USAID, World Food Program, and Doctors Without Borders are working to make it safe to continue living here.

(on camera): This home costs about $200. Point out a couple of things. First of all, this is corrugated iron. For many people living in this area, this could be the difference between life and death as the winter gets much colder. Also, as you look up here, you'll see a lot of straw in between the tarp and the corrugated iron. That's the best form of installation they can have around here. And also this tarp itself, a simple tarp -- gray on the outside and actually white on the inside, and the point of that is to actually attract the sun and keep it even warmer.

This is what they'll have to deal with as the winter gets much colder around here and temperatures drop below freezing at night.

(on camera): What is the thing you need more than anything else?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need now iron sheets. If we have iron sheets, we can live here. Otherwise, this tent is not enough.

GUPTA (voice-over): There it was -- a problem. Yes, it was getting colder, and a solution, $10 iron sheets. It wasn't clear that these corrugated iron sheets would make it here in time to save the lives of Javad, Masur and that boy with no shoes. Some say it's already too late. Some say the aftershock of winter came too quick, and too strong.

ANNOUNCER: This man thought his daughter was dead. She was missing for more than 60 days, but she was found clinging to life, buried beneath the ruins. How she managed that, when we return.


GUPTA: The earth shook. The mountains came down like rain. More than 80,000 people died and were instantly buried. It all happened in just two minutes.

This 80-year-old man was convinced his daughter was among the dead. She was in the kitchen working, he told me. We heard her scream. And then nothing. We couldn't find her. Not in the mountain rubble that had buried their simple home. But the family needed to rebuild, and as they cleared the ground for a new home, they finally found her. Accidentally. More than two months after the quake. Long after most victims had been given up for dead.

(on camera): We're about to see something that is truly remarkable. If this all turns out to be true, the woman you're about to see is the longer survivor ever of someone who was trapped after an earthquake or after any sort of disaster. Supposedly she lived for two months, actually 65 days with no food and maybe only access to muddy water. She weighed just 26 kilograms when she got in -- that's just about 60 pounds. She was severely malnourished.

Let's take a look for the first time.

Did she have any injuries?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's got no injuries. We have all x-rays done, C scan was done. (INAUDIBLE) Chest is okay. Back is okay.

GUPTA (voice-over): Forty-five-year-old Naksha (ph) was so deeply buried in such a small space, she couldn't move her legs or her arms at all. And when she was found, she looked dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like they saw her, she was just lying. And they thought, she's dead. They start to wash her, prepare her for her burial.

GUPTA (on camera): They were washing, her preparing her for burial and she woke up?


GUPTA (voice-over): A little bit of movement, a little bit of life.

(on camera): The patient was in her house that turned into a rubble as a result of the devastating earthquake. Thereafter, she remained in the rubble from October 8th until December 12th. She was found covered with dust, severely starved and dehydrated, unable to communicate, listless -- but she was alive.


GUPTA: And the patient -- then the support team brought her to the hospital. It's remarkable.

(voice-over) Within days she arrived at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences. That's where we found her. As doctor, as a journalist, I had never seen anything like this.

(on camera): She holds her arms up so close like this, because of something known as contractures. She just hasn't been able to move for so long, her joints in arms and legs have become stuck, if you will, in that position. So physical therapy is a really important thing as well. And, of course, eating. She's eating up to 3400 calories a day, trying to put on some weight.

(voice-over): Thousands of patients have been seen here at the largest hospital in Islamabad. But of those thousands, Naksha's case was unique.

DR. ARSHAD SIDDQU, FATHER'S DOCTOR: I've never heard of that, and I never -- and I'm pretty sure it's not available (ph) that a person can survive under pressure, without food, without water, for that long a period of time.

GUPTA: Of course, the only person who really knows what happened to Naksha is Naksha herself. But she is still too weak to talk.

(on camera): What do you think? You're her doctor.

SIDDQU: I think she must be getting some food or water, maybe, by the rain or something like that. Because something, she must be eating or drinking. So -- which kept her alive. And secondly I think she was very healthy.

GUPTA (voice-over): Even if she did have some food, she clearly didn't have much.

(on camera): Can I see her legs? How much weight did she lose here in her legs?

Wow. There is no -- no muscle mass, no fat. Just skin and bones.

DR. ROBERT SCHOENE, SURVIVAL EXPERT: It's hard to know. It's certainly conceivable that this woman survived that long, but she was probably getting close to the point of true starvation, but fasts of one to two months has been recorded many times. But she needed water and she needed to maintain her body temperature.

GUPTA: Naksha cannot tell us what happened, and may have suffered neurological damage. We don't know why she's hitting herself, but it could be that she is upset about her condition. Also, she's been told her mother died in the earthquake.

Still, she's in remarkable condition for her ordeal. Her father is in a hospital close by. He was at a market where the earthquake hit and his leg was crushed in the rubble. By the time he arrived here several days later, his shattered leg was infected. Doctors couldn't save it.

But then good news. After his operation, confined to a hospital bed, he is told her his daughter is alive. He doesn't believe it, until he sees her with his own eyes. It was a reunion seen and heard around all of Pakistan.

(on camera): I'm walking out of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, the largest hospital in Islamabad. I'm still not sure what to make of this woman. They say that she survived for nearly two months without any food and hardly any water. The scientist in me is somewhat skeptical of that, but all the doctors here say it's a miracle.

(voice-over): And miracle or not, it's a new record for human survival, and that has gotten the attention of doctors all over the world.

SCHOENE: It is a phenomenal story, and from, you know, tragedies, both natural tragedies and so forth, there are always cases of survival that are absolutely fantastic. This one is quite something. It will be interesting to follow her and hopefully she'll get good medical care and rehabilitation.

GUPTA: Naksha is slowly rehabilitating her broken down and battered body. For the time being, she doesn't seem to know that she survived when so many others died, and that when she was lifted from the rubble, she lifted the spirits of a broken country.

ANNOUNCER: Pakistan from a bird's-eye view, next.

And more information on how you can help the victims in the quake zone, when we return.


GUPTA: We're flying probably about 5,000 to 6,000 feet. What we'll start to see here quickly as we fly out of Islamabad, is a bit of significant destruction. You look down here, you'll see lots of tents. There are tents everywhere now. There are villages of tents. Where there were homes before, there are now just lots of tents. And as we've seen already, these tents are not the best in terms of actually protecting against the cold weather. They're just canvas. They have no heating system. They certainly do not block against the rain or the cold either.

All of the planning now, everything, all the resources, is going towards trying to keep people warm, as the temperatures get very cold -- certainly below freezing. The ground is very hard, frozen in most places, and snow is already starting to fall as well.

Going by helicopter is really the only way to get to so many of these areas. We're flying in a Black Hawk helicopter, courtesy of the Australian military. Now you look over here, to the right of the helicopter, you just see the landslide -- devastating landslide. Looks like part of the mountain has actually been sheared right off. All that rock, all that debris. Just a big chunk of the mountain. It's just fallen right down.

I don't know if you get a sense of what you're looking at here, but in fact this mountain used to extend out further and it has just been sheared essentially right off. All of that debris, all of that rock, chunks of the mountain, just gone. And slid down, devastating the villages underneath, devastating the roads, making them impassable. How do people live like this? I don't know.


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