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UN raises quake relief appeal to $549 mn

By K J M Varma in Islamabad
October 26, 2005 22:10 IST
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United Nations on Wednesday raised to $549 million its flash appeal to provide relief for the earthquake victims in Pakistan as the official death toll crossed 54,000.

A donor conference convened by UN and Pakistan in Geneva raised the flash appeal to USD 549 million from the earlier appeal of USD 312 million, Pakistan's Permanent Representative at United Nations Masood Khan told local TV networks over phone from Geneva.

The conference to be addressed among others by UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan would focus on providing international assistance to Pakistan for relief and rehabilitation of the victims, he said.

Earlier United Nations had appealed providing 312 million dollars aid but it had received only 90 million dollars aid pledges.

President Pervez Musharraf meanwhile said damage caused earthquake would be more than billion dollars.

Representatives from 65 countries including US, Britain, France, and Switzerland are scheduled to attend the urgently called donors conference.

Around half a million families have rendered homeless while 11,000 lost their jobs, Khan said.

According to assessment of international community, around two million of those affected will have to be brought back to normal life activity, he said and adding that 10,000 damaged educational institutions have to be reconstructed.

The death toll in the quake-hit areas PoK and North West Frontier Province from Pakistan's massive quake is now 54,000, Pakistan's Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao said. Out of this, some 36,000 died in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir alone.

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K J M Varma in Islamabad
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