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India ups Pakistan flood aid to $25 mn

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 02:33:16 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: India has increased its aid for Pakistan flood victims to $25 million from the $5 million announced earlier, but the assistance will be routed through the United Nations, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said here Tuesday.

“(The) government has decided to increase its assistance to Pakistan from $5 million, announced earlier, to $25 million,” Krishna said in the Lok Sabha. He added that this was being done “as a more concrete assessment of the damage inflicted by this natural disaster and the urgent needs of the people of Pakistan emerges”.

Of this amount, he disclosed, $20 million would be contributed to the Pakistan Initial Floods Emergency Plan launched by the UN coordinator of humanitarian affairs.

The external affairs minister, who was making a statement on India’s offer of assistance to Pakistan for flood relief, said the balance $5 million would be contributed to the World Food Programme for its relief efforts in Pakistan.

India, Krishna said, “cannot remain unconcerned with this grave humanitarian crisis of enormous magnitude in our immediate neighbourhood”.

He added that Pakistan had conveyed its “deep appreciation of India’s offer of assistance”.

“While mentioning that the United Nations has launched a flash appeal soliciting contributions from the international community to assist the people affected by the floods, Pakistan requested Aug 27 that India may channel its contribution to the flood victims through the UN.”

Quoting Manmohan Singh, he said: “In such times of natural disasters, all of South Asia should rise to the occasion and extend every possible help to the affected people. We remain committed to assisting the people of Pakistan in all possible ways in this difficult hour.”

India had initially offered aid of $5 million towards flood relief in Pakistan. The offer was made by Krishna to his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi Aug 13.

It took Pakistan a few days to accept the aid; Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also offered the aid to his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani in a telephone call Aug 19.

Last week, the Pakistan Foreign Office said that India should route its aid through UN. It cited no reason for this stand.

Floods in Pakistan that began July 28 have claimed at least 1,600 lives and affected over 20 million people.

More than 1.2 million houses have been damaged or destroyed besides widespread damage to infrastructure, crops and livestock.




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