Donation boost to Pakistan earthquake victims
22 December 2005, BRUSSELS — The federal government donated an extra EUR 500,000 to the earthquake victims in Pakistan during a special benefit show broadcast on Flemish television on Wednesday night.
22 December 2005
BRUSSELS — The federal government donated an extra EUR 500,000 to the earthquake victims in Pakistan during a special benefit show broadcast on Flemish television on Wednesday night.
The donation brings the federal contribution to EUR 3.385 million, but a spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Ministry said that amount might still be increased.
"It is seriously being considered to immediately reserve more money for Pakistan from the 2006 budgets," spokesman Rudy Huyghelen said.
The Belgian federal contribution to the earthquake victims in Pakistan amounts to about 10 percent of the money allocated to help the victims of the devastating December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
And in contrast to the federal show of solidarity, the Flemish government was unable to donate extra money on Wednesday despite the fact the benefit show was a joint effort by Dutch-speaking broadcasters VRT and VTM.
Shortly after the earthquake hit the Kashmir region in October, the Flemish government donated EUR 300,000 for emergency aid. However, that donation exhausted the entire 2005 budget and there is no plan to dip into next year's funds.
The federal government has a much greater humanitarian aid budget than Flanders. Federally, there is a reserve of EUR 900 million, while the Flemish government can only afford EUR 16 million in overseas development aid each year.
The public donated EUR 3.65 million via SMS or telephone to assist the earthquake victims during the special benefit show. Combined with the federal contribution, the total amount donated on Wednesday came to EUR 4.15 million.
The show was broadcast on the VRT channel 'Een'. Popular musician and quizmaster Ben Crabbé and VTM's talk show host and sex therapist Goedele Liekens were its presenters.
Meanwhile, VRT and VTM are staging various other events to raise money for the Pakistan victims.
Chicken soup was sold to commuters at service stations on Wednesday morning and radio listeners can hear their favourite song in return for a donation. Many schools and bars are also selling cups of chicken soup to raise money for the earthquake victims.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news