Germany promises long-term aid for Pakistan
19 October 2005, ISLAMABAD - Germany on Wednesday assured Pakistan of long- term support in reconstructing quake-hit areas, while a German army team remains actively engaged in rescue and relief operations in the devastated northern region.
19 October 2005
ISLAMABAD - Germany on Wednesday assured Pakistan of long- term support in reconstructing quake-hit areas, while a German army team remains actively engaged in rescue and relief operations in the devastated northern region.
Ambassador Gunter Mulack told reporters in Islamabad that Germany has so far pledged EUR 15.6 million and committed another EUR 3.5 million to the U.N. flash appeal to help people struck by the October 8 quake.
Berlin would extend long-term support in reconstruction and rehabilitation of the ravaged northern parts, he added.
"But the first step is to fly wounded to hospitals and provide tents and blankets to the affected people," Mulack said in the presence of German relief workers involved in search and rescue efforts in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and North-western Frontier Province (NWFP).
German and Pakistani officials would discuss how to prioritise quake relief assistance when they meet next month for the annual talks on bilateral economic cooperation, he added.
Mulack also welcomed the decision by President General Pervez Musharraf to allow Kashmiris from across the Line of Control (LOC), which divides the disputed Kashmir region between Pakistan and India, to help the affected people.
The 520 kilometre-long LoC is essentially a ceasefire line between the two parts of the Himalayan state and was opened to a fortnightly Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus shuttle on April 7 this year after more than four decades.
Lt. Col Markus Bodefeld, part of a 54-member German medical team that landed in Pakistan three days after the quake, said two German CH-53 helicopters have so far conducted 97 missions to the affected areas.
"We have dropped 124 tons of relief goods in remote areas, flown 1,470 passengers and brought back 1,570 seriously wounded to Islamabad," he added.
The German relief team is based in northeast Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistani Kashmir, while the German helicopters are flying daily between Islamabad and the quake-hits areas to drop relief goods and transport wounded.
The German army on Thursday will hand over a 700 square-metre tent to the civil administration in Muzaffarabad as thousands of affected people continue to spend nights in the open.
German Red Cross and non-governmental organizations are also working closely with their local partners to provide medicines, water-purification plants and other relief goods to the affected areas.
Subject: German news