ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Hailstorms hindered relief efforts and brought a new threat of mudslides on steep mountainsides as the estimated death toll from the South Asia earthquake topped 42,000, officials said.

Nearly 3 million people were living in tents or in the open amid freezing temperatures, having been left homeless by the weekend 7.6-magnitude quake in the Himalayan regions of India and Pakistan.

Severe storms, some containing hail, temporarily grounded relief flights out of Islamabad Tuesday, just as humanitarian aid began to trickle into the region.

One hundred twenty metric tons of ready-to-eat food arrived Tuesday, enough to feed 240,000 people for five days, a World Food Program spokesman told CNN.

Another 80 million metric tons of food aid is in the pipeline, Amjad Jamal said. (World boosts quake aid effort)

But he acknowledged the need was great and said appeals were being made to the international community for additional donations of food, supplies and money.

The United Nations appealed Tuesday for $272 million for quake survivors.

The U.N. inter-agency appeal aims to cover relief needs including winterized tents, food, blankets, medicines and water purification equipment, as well as reconstruction of some schools, Reuters reported.

"The appeal is to cover the immediate life-saving and early recovery needs for only the first six months of the emergency phase," Yvette Stevens, assistant U.N. emergency relief coordinator, told a news conference.

"In terms of reconstruction, we would expect that the needs will be much, much greater," she added.

In parts of northern Pakistan, India and the disputed region of Kashmir, entire villages have been destroyed and millions left homeless. People searched through mountains of rubble for those still trapped, food and water.

Local government, police and hospital officials put Pakistan's estimated death toll at more than 41,000, with another 1,239 reported deaths in India and one reported death in Afghanistan.

Islamic Relief spokesman Waseem Yaqhoob told CNN he thought the death toll would reach "80,000, maybe more."

"This could get very close to tsunami levels," he said. "It's horrific. It really is terrible."

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri told CNN there were at least 20,000 certified deaths in his country.

"The newspapers, on the other hand, have been predicting a much larger number," Kasuri said. "I hope they're wrong."

Confusion over death tolls is common after such disasters, and confirmed death tolls are often lower than original predictions.

Kasuri said the international response to appeals for aid has been "overwhelming" and "transcends" religion and politics.

"We have had over 20 countries sending rescue teams," he said. "There is hardly a country in the world that has not spoken with me."

Kasuri confirmed Pakistan had gratefully accepted aid from its neighbor and nuclear rival, India, with whom it has fought three wars since independence from British rule in 1947 -- two of them over the disputed Kashmir region that took the brunt of the quake. (Full story)
Mounting frustration

In Pakistan, survivors were becoming frustrated over the pace of relief efforts, with some resorting to looting.

Officials in both Pakistan and India have defended relief efforts, saying blocked roads and a lack of helicopters have prevented rescue teams from reaching mountain areas.

Pakistani presidential spokesman Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan told CNN some areas had been "virtually impossible to reach" via land routes, but that rescue teams were on their way "to the most affected areas."

India's Home Secretary V.K. Duggal said Monday that relief has been sent to most areas, but some remote patches in Uri, Kupwara and Baramulla have not been covered.

"As road accessibility improves, we hope to reach these villages by (Tuesday)," Duggal said.

Reporting from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, CNN's Andrew Stevens said there was a "lot of anger" over the relief efforts.

"There is a general feeling more needs to be done," Stevens said, adding the government says it cannot deal with the sheer scale of the disaster.
Miracle rescue

Rescuers, meanwhile, were still finding survivors in the wreckage of an 11-story apartment building in Islamabad. (See video on survivors pulled from rubble )

Early Tuesday, search teams made contact with a person buried under the rubble of the apartment building.

Rescuers pulled a 2-year-old girl and her mother from the wreckage hours earlier.

A total of 25 people have been rescued at the site, but search teams also have found 35 bodies in the rubble. (Signs of hope amid crisis)

The building was about 10 years old, and others in the upscale block survived the quake. Pakistani authorities have said they plan an extensive probe into the cause of the collapse.

Andrew MacLeod, a U.N. disaster relief official in northern Pakistan, said another 11 people were rescued from collapsed schools in the region.

The capital, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) south-southwest of the earthquake's epicenter, was spared the worst of the damage.
Looting, scuffling

The quake's epicenter was in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, which sits in the Himalayan foothills. (Terrain major barrier to aid)

The Pakistani army hospital in Muzaffarabad was heavily damaged, and mass burials were held Monday.

Trucks of aid arrived in the ruined capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir on Tuesday, and victims scuffled for badly needed food and blankets.

"They've lost everything. They have no clothes, no food, nothing," resident Asim Butt told Reuters. "People have started looting things from shops."

Also badly hit was Pakistan's North-West Frontier province, where many villages were leveled and roads destroyed, making travel all but impossible.

CNN's Matthew Chance, reporting from the city of Balakot in the North-West Frontier province, said nearly every building in the tourist town of 250,000 had been destroyed. (Survivors describe shock)

Traveling in the Baramullah district of Indian-controlled Kashmir Tuesday, CNN's Ram Ramgopal said residents were in a "desperate situation."

In addition to the more than 1,200 deaths, police officials in the state capital Srinagar reported 7,082 injuries, with significant damage to 34,245 dwellings and another 9,836 destroyed.

"Obviously, people have lost everything," Ramgopal said. "These are people who have been cut off. They have very little means of their own right now and they are relying on states to provide that assistance."
'Assistance is flowing'

Late Sunday, the White House announced the United States would provide initial aid of up to $50 million for reconstruction and relief efforts in Pakistan, a key U.S. ally in the war on terrorism. (Full story)

Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, said Monday that "assistance is flowing in now."

"Our first flight came in (Sunday) night -- the military airlift with blankets, water, rations," he said. "There will be additional flights tonight and on through the week."

Crocker also said that eight military helicopters had been brought to Pakistan from U.S. operations in Afghanistan.

European Union Commissioner Louis Michel said he was sending $4.4 million in emergency relief aid to the region.

The United Nations has been coordinating relief efforts from the international airport in Islamabad, said Jan Egeland, U.N. undersecretary for humanitarian affairs.

But the need is staggering, Egeland said, with the number of homeless rivaling those left without shelter after last year's Indian Ocean tsunami.

"There will be need for hundreds of thousands of tents and emergency shelter for all the people who have lost everything," he said.

Source: CNN