Dutch tsunami convoy blocked at India
7 February 2005, AMSTERDAM — A convoy of 10 trucks carrying relief supplies collected by Dutch children for the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami has been blocked at a border crossing between Pakistan and India.
7 February 2005
AMSTERDAM — A convoy of 10 trucks carrying relief supplies collected by Dutch children for the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami has been blocked at a border crossing between Pakistan and India.
Customs officials said that the convoy does not have the right to pass through and only the Finance Ministry can give special permission for the convoy to enter the sub-continent. Indian authorities have been informed about the problem.
Organised by the Motherhood foundation, the convoy is carrying tents, medicine, clothing, soap, toothpaste and powdered milk. The supplies were collected by 20,000 Dutch school children, Radio Netherlands reported.
Motherhood founder Nicolien de Kroon said the supplies are destined for the province of Nadu, where an estimated 10,000 were killed in the 26 December tsunami. The total death toll from the disaster is more than 250,000.
The convoy departed from the Netherlands on 14 January and has travelled some 10,000km through many countries, including Bulgaria, Iran and Pakistan. "We were never held back in any of the other countries. Only here do we have a problem," De Kroon said.
Meanwhile, the Netherlands is assisting in the construction of nine emergency bridges in the Indonesian province of Aceh, the worst-hit area of the Boxing Day disaster, Foreign Minister Ben Bot said in the province's capital Banda Aceh.
Bot said a team of Dutch specialists will leave on Tuesday to determine where best to erect the bridges and what other materials are necessary. The nine Bailey bridges have been donated by Nato, and the Netherlands will transport them to Indonesia and help in the construction.
The Netherlands is also assisting the repair and construction of drinking water and sanitary facilities in Aceh. Thirteen Dutch water supply companies have donated EUR 4.5 million to the project and the Cabinet has doubled that figure, news agency ANP reported.
On a six-day visit to the disaster area, Bot said he was impressed by the relief efforts being conducted by Indonesian authorities. The minister's visit was designed to covey the Dutch commitment to humanitarian aid and he flew on to Phuket in Thailand on Sunday night.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news