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World rushes aid to quake-hit Pakistan

Source: PTI
October 09, 2005 16:55 IST
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As Pakistan struggled to cope with the destruction caused by the worst earthquake in a century, international community rushed relief and rescue material as well as medical help for the victims of the disaster.

Hours after the quake struck on Saturday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf over phone and offered all assistance in the relief and rescue work.

The United States promised $100,000 for the victims of the 7.6 magnitude quake described by President George W Bush as a "horrible tragedy."

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Expressing "deepest sympathies" for the loss of life and destruction, he said "our initial deployments of assistance are underway, and we stand ready to provide additional assistance as needed."

A British team equipped with sophisticated equipment like metal and heat detectors already arrived on Sunday morning and launched a rescue operation at the site of a collapsed multi-storey 'Margala Towers' building.

Earlier British Foreign secretary Jack Straw said the government was sending $177,000 along with 60 medical staff, emergency staff and foreign office staff.

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, on Saturday said that up to three million Euros could be approved within a day if requested by agencies working on the ground.

The United Nations has sent an eight-member Disaster Assesement and Coordination team to Pakistan with a mandate to ensure all possible help to the country which was rocked by the massive earthquake and also released a $100,000 cash grant for  immediate relief to the victims of the disaster.

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan said he was "deeply saddened by the loss of life and destruction" caused by the quake.

The United Nations Children's Fund has also begun relief supplies to the affect areas from its warehouses in Karachi and prepared to get supplies from its other warehouses in the region.

China airlifted a 49-member rescue team and search equipment to earthquake-hit areas in Pakistan. The team also has six search dogs, eight tonnes of search equipment and nine tonnes of relief material.

In a condolence message to his Pakistani counterpart Pervez Musharraf, Chinese President Hu Jintao offered his condolences to the victims' families and the injured. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao also sent his condolences.     

Bangladeshi President Iajuddin Ahmed, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and main opposition leader Sheikh Hasina Wajed sent separate messages to Pakistani leaders expressing their sorrow at the large-scale destruction.

In a letter to Musharraf, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said "the information and the images we have of the earthquake that has struck your country fill us with sadness. Our thoughts go to the victims and their loved ones."     

His Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said Germany has immediately released 50,000 euros to be made available to Pakistani authorities through Berlin's embassy in Islamabad.

France said it was sending a 25-member emergency rescue team along with sniffer dogs and cutting material while the Irish government pledged an initial one million euros. Turkey also offered aid to Pakistan.

Complete Coverage: Terror from the earth

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