Plea from Pakistan

Image: Mathias Heng
It’s written in their eyes: fear, anguish, uncertainty, pain and despair. Many people in Pakistan, like these captured in extraordinary images late last year by photographer Mathias Heng, are subsisting in a hell on earth that few in the West can imagine.
Since a devastating earthquake struck on 8 October 2005, more than 73,000 people have been reported dead and another 769,000 injured; in Pakistan alone about 2.5 million people have been left homeless, taking shelter in tents as the brutal winter continues.

Among them are Shazia, pictured on the cover of this issue, who lost her mother and sisters and is now cared for by her father. Amna (above), pleads for food aid from an NGO after her parents were killed. Abdia, lost her home and five of her children, and now lives in a tent with her son.

Soon after the earthquake struck, aid agencies began making their way into affected areas to help the survivors; one such group is pictured handing out food aid.

But those organisations have been fighting a difficult battle against severe weather, and the people of Pakistan still desperately need the world’s help. Donations are being gratefully received by many aid agencies including World Vision (, Plan ( and Caritas Australia (  



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