Pakistan: Reconstruction aid lacking

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has said the amount of foreign reconstruction aid promised after the devastating South Asian quake is totally inadequate.

    Musharraf says $5 billion is needed for reconstruction

    Musharraf was quoted by the BBC as saying on Friday that Pakistan needed $5 billion in disaster aid but the international community had pledged only $620 million.
      
    Musharraf's comments came a day after the United Nations begged the world to wake up and prevent a second wave of deaths by setting up a massive Berlin Airlift-style helicopter operation.
      
    More than 51,300 people died in the 8 October earthquake and more than three million people remain homeless, mostly in the northern Himalayan foothills of Kashmir with winter just around the corner.
      
    UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Thursday that donors had made firm commitments for only 12% of the $312 million needed right away after the tragedy. 

    Reconstruction aid
      
    Musharraf's spokesman, Major-General Shaukat Sultan, said the president was referring only to the reconstruction aid, not the initial appeal for aid and rescue teams. 
       

    "It is reconstruction where the pledges are highly inadequate"

    Major-General Shaukat Sultan, Musharraf spokesman

    "It is reconstruction where the pledges are highly inadequate because reconstruction would require billions of dollars ... for houses, infrastructure, hospitals, schools, colleges and police stations, roads and bridges," Sultan said.
      
    "It is this part where the pledges so far are inadequate. That is why there is a donor conference in Geneva after a few days."
      
    Turkey became the biggest donor on Friday when it pledged $150 million to its fellow Muslim country, $100 million in cash and $50 million in aid.

    SOURCE: AFP


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