Posted: October 30, 2005
2:25 p.m. Eastern
© 2005 WorldNetDaily.com
As relief efforts continue in earthquake-stricken Pakistan and Afghanistan, police have arrested a gang of Afghans allegedly caught stealing kidneys from the corpses of quake victims.
Four men were reportedly carrying a freezer box containing 15 organs from bodies trapped in the rubble in the Kashmir region.
According to London's Sunday Times, the gang and other kidney traders have been racing to find dead bodies and survivors willing to sell their own organs.
For instance in the town of Bagh, near the epicenter of the Oct. 8 quake, a handwritten note reading "kidney for sale" was found attached to the entrance of a tent in a temporary camp.
It was pinned there by a 33-year-old man who gave his name only as Rumzan. The Times says his brother, Bashir, was crushed during the catastrophic temblor, leaving Rumzan to care for seven children in a small tent.
"Some months ago I heard on BBC radio that a woman in Dhaka had put up an ad to sell her one eye to support her family," he told the paper. "This gave me the idea to sell my kidney."
An organ broker in Bagh said he knew of Rumzan's situation, and had found a foreign client willing to pay $4,200 for the kidney. The commission would be $1,000.
"Rumzan is lucky to get a foreign client," the broker said. "Had it been a local client he would not have got more than $2,100. I will take Rumzan to Lahore, along with his family, to have his preoperative tests and to sign legal papers. I will take care of his every need until the kidney is donated."
Varied reports say between 57,000 and 80,000 people have died as a result of the earthquake, and relief agencies warn they're fighting a losing battle to prevent thousands more deaths from hypothermia when the snows arrive next month.
"Time is running out," a spokeswoman for Save the Children said.
Meanwhile, Pope Benedict XVI today called for more generous international aid to the region, saying from Rome that "the needs seem greater than the help offered so far."
"I renew my appeal to the international community, so that the efforts to support this sorely tested people are multiplied," he said.