AN ACCRINGTON man has spoken of his heartbreak after the village where he grew up was wiped out by the earthquake in Kashmir.
Mohammed Bashir Khan's cousin died in the devastating quake, which has left his brothers homeless.
The 32-year-old, a priest at the Raza Jamia Mosque and Islamic Centre on Grimshaw Street, Accrington, where he also lives, left the town of Koinayan four years ago to come to Britain.
He was horrified when he heard his cousin Mayat Khan had been killed, leaving a wife and three grown-up children, and the village of 55 houses had been reduced to rubble.
Mr Khan said that Koinayan was still cut off to the outside world and spoke of his frustration at being unable to contact his cousin's family.
He said: "I'm very worried, I don't know what's happening. It's very cold out there now, with three feet of ice in places, and every day my family have to live outside."
His two brothers, Muhammed Sahbir Khan, 42, and Nasir Khan, 28, are spending their days working through the rubble looking for bodies and trying to help the villagers come to terms with the devastation.
Mr Khan hopes to return home to Kashmir at the end of Ramadan but is worried about the shocking scenes that might greet him on arrival and wonders if there will be any village still standing that he can call home.
Meanwhile, Hyndburn's Muslim community has launched a massive fund-raising effort to help people living in the zone stricken by the earthquake which has killed at least 25,000 people, the vast majority in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.
And there are even plans to build a new town of up to 100 houses in one of the worst-hit areas. This could be called Hyndburn or possibly twinned with the borough.
Luckily, very few Hyndburn residents have friends or relatives killed or injured in the quake as most immigrants came from a different region of Kashmir.
But all the mosques and civic leaders have joined together to collect money to buy water, food and blankets.
- HYNDBURN firefighters Andy Barnes and Darren Hudson are members of a 17-strong team which flew out to the region to join the international relief effort - and helped save a man who had been buried alive under hundreds of tons of concrete.