World sends quake relief

Rescue teams from around the world have been heading to Pakistan's earthquake-stricken northern areas and pledges of aid have been made within hours of the disaster.

    Britain sent search and rescue experts as well as sniffer dogs

    Five teams of Turkish rescuers left for Pakistan on Sunday morning to help search for survivors from the earthquake, which has claimed at least 19,000 lives.

     

    Turkish officials said a health ministry team made up of 32 doctors, nurses and technicians left Ankara on a military plane.

     

    Other teams were deployed by the army, the Red Crescent and the civil defence department, together with 11 tons of humanitarian assistance.

     

    The toll from Saturday's 7.6-magnitude quake, which struck Pakistan-controlled Kashmir is expected to grow beyond the 19,136 confirmed dead.

     

    Kashmir's Works and Communications Minister, Tariq Farooq, said he believed the quake had killed more than 30,000 people.

     

    Chinese team
     
    A Chinese rescue team of search dogs and 17 tons of equipment were sent to Pakistan on Sunday, Chinese media said.

     

    The 49-member team, headed by deputy director of the China Seismological Bureau Zhao Heping, also includes rescue personnel, medical staff and seismological experts, Xinhua news agency said.

     

    The team is taking with it six search dogs, eight tons of search equipment and nine tons of relief materials, Xinhua said.

    Gulf aid

     

    The energy-rich Gulf states of Saudi Arabia and Qatar announced on Sunday that they were sending emergency humanitarian aid as well.

     

    Saudi King Abdullah called for
    rapid deployment of medical aid

    Saudi King Abdullah ordered the rapid establishment of an air-lift of doctors, medicines, tents, covers and food to Pakistan, said the state news agency SPA.

    A spokesman at the Qatari Foreign Ministry said Doha would contribute urgent humanitarian assistance to the quake victims, the official Qatar News Agency said.

    Late on Saturday, a 26-strong Abu Dhabi police rescue team left for Pakistan to help search for survivors and treat the wounded from the earthquake.

    UAE President Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan also ordered the immediate dispatch of humanitarian aid to quake-hit areas in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.

    Gulf states host millions of Asians, mainly Pakistanis and Indians, who constitute the bulk of labourers in the countries which are witnessing a construction boom.

    Russian rescuers

     

    Russia was planning to send rescuers to Pakistan on Sunday to help out after the devastating earthquake that hit South Asia, officials said. 

    UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan
    sent his condolences to Pakistan

    An Emergency Situations Ministry officer said a plane was due to take off for Islamabad in the afternoon.

     

    The Itar-Tass news agency reported that the plane would carry 30 rescuers as well as four dogs trained to find people under debris.

     

    It would also carry trucks and mobile equipment that should allow the rescue team to operate independently in the disaster area for up to two weeks, the report said.

     

    Australian financial aid
     
    Australia said on Sunday it had provided $380,000 for immediate medical and relief assistance for the quake victims.

     

    The funds will be channelled through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said Foreign Affairs parliamentary secretary Bruce Billson.

     

    "Australian funds will help provide immediate medical and shelter assistance for affected communities," he said.

     

    "Australian funds will help provide immediate medical and shelter assistance for affected communities"

    Bruce Billson, Australian Foreign Affairs parliamentary secretary

    US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice told India's External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh the US would provide whatever assistance the country required for providing relief to the affected areas.

     

    Britain sent search and rescue experts as well as sniffer dogs, and Japan sent a team of 49 aid workers. 

     

    UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan sent condolences to Pakistan, and a UN Disaster and Coordination Team in Geneva was on standby to be deployed. 

     

    Oxfam and other aid agencies planned to coordinate their response with the United Nations. 

     

    And in a further sign of easing tension between longtime rivals India and Pakistan, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to offer assistance.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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