Tuesday, October 11, 2005

As rescuers battle on, Pakistan seeks more aid - Reuters

The BBC also gives the following international aid estimates:


US: $50m
World Bank: $20m
Asian Development Bank: $10m
EU: $3.6m
Australia: $380,000
UK: $177,000 and 60-strong team
France: 40 doctors, medical supplies, sniffer dogs, 20 rescue workers
China: $6.2m, 49 rescuers, dogs, 17 tons of equipment
Japan: 50 rescue workers
Turkey: five teams of rescuers and 11 tonnes of aid
Russia: 30 rescuers, sniffer dogs, special equipment
Germany: $60,000



As rescuers battle on, Pakistan seeks more aid
Mon Oct 10, 2005 11:20 PM BST
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By Aamir Ashraf
MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistani rescuers battled on Tuesday to dig out more victims nearly three days after a devastating earthquake as survivors desperately short of food and shelter voiced anger at the lack of help.
The Pakistan government also appealed for funds for what it said would be a long struggle to recover from the country's worst-ever natural disaster.
The government confirmed more than 20,000 deaths so far in flattened towns and villages across the north, but some officials suggest a final toll closer to 40,000.
Another 2,000 may have died in neighbouring India, and the fate of about 10,000 people living in remote villages on the border with Pakistan was unknown, Indian officials said.
Tens of thousands of homes, schools and hospitals have been destroyed across worst-hit Pakistani Kashmir and Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province.
The United Nations estimates 1 million people were hit hard by the disaster while the total affected population was expected to exceed 4 million.
International donors have announced hundreds of millions of dollars of aid and have rushed in doctors, helicopters, food, tents and sniffer dogs.
Pakistan's high commissioner to Britain, Mahleelah Lodhi, said Pakistan was grateful, but needed more -- not just for emergency relief but for reconstruction later.
"We are dealing with a catastrophe on a major scale, so the relief effort has to be also on a major scale," she told CNN.
The United Nations said immediate humanitarian and short-term reconstruction needs were enormous and Secretary-General Kofi Annan would issue a "flash appeal" to raise funds for this.
At the same time, it said economic regeneration of the region would require massive investment.
"The United Nations will fully support recovery efforts and is committed to providing assistance for the longer term rebuilding and development of the region," it said.
The disaster has stretched resources in Pakistan and rescue efforts led by the army have struggled to provide assistance to the huge number of victims.
Many survivors are desperately short of food, medicine and water as well as shelter and have voiced anger at a lack of visible help on the ground days after the quake.
Some have resorted to taking what they can from shattered buildings.
In Muzaffarabad, the main town of Pakistani Kashmir, some gangs of young men have looted anything they could, including cars and motorbikes, prompting police to fire shots in the air.
Despite aid pledges from around the world, there had been little or no medical attention for many of the more than 40,000 injured more than two days after the disaster.
"Most of the people here are cursing the government for still not providing proper attention and we agree with their feelings," said Ayub, a medical student helping victims.
The U.S. military in neighbouring Afghanistan said it was diverting eight helicopters being used in the war against Islamist militants to assist with emergency operations.
Pakistan also decided to accept offers of relief supplies from rival India, with which it contests ownership of Kashmir, but said no Indian troops would be allowed on its territory.
Meanwhile, rescuers, many of them desperate relatives scrabbling with their bare hands, have been battling to save thousands of people trapped in rubble across the wide region.
In the capital, Islamabad, European, Arab and Japanese nationals were among an estimated 45 people missing two days after the quake destroyed two apartment blocks.
Late on Monday, a British rescue team pulled out an Iraqi child and his mother more than two days after they were trapped in the rubble, where at least 30 bodies have been found so far.
Those still missing included two other members of the Iraqi family, a Swedish woman and her three children, at least one Italian man, a Spanish man, a Japanese man and another foreigner.
Outside the capital, thousands have been sleeping in the open in cars or in tents -- shivering in the night's autumn cold and rain, but safer from aftershocks than they would be indoors.
With bodies buried in ruins of many buildings, doctors have warned of the dangers of disease from decomposing corpses and broken sewerage systems.
"The only solution is to move them from here because after a while the stench of these dead bodies will become unbearable and infectious," said Dr. Khalid Qureshi of Pakistan's Red Crescent Society as he treated injured in the battered town of Balakot.© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.


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