Helicopters 'can't be spared' for quake relief

11th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

11 October 2005, AMSTERDAM — The Dutch government has 10s of millions of euros in its emergency fund that could be pumped into the relief operation following Saturday's earthquake in Pakistan and India.

11 October 2005

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch government has 10s of millions of euros in its emergency fund that could be pumped into the relief operation following Saturday's earthquake in Pakistan and India.

Foreign Aid Minister Agnes van Ardenne told parliament that the Netherlands had given EUR 1 million so far to Pakistan. A Dutch search and rescue team arrived in Pakistan on Monday to help in the search for survivors.

Pakistan's president Pervez Musharraf has said the most pressing need is for heavy lift helicopters, as the quake destroyed the majority of roads in the devastated areas.

The Netherlands has three Chinook helicopters based in the south of Afghanistan. But the heavy lift craft "appear to be indispensable" for the hunt for Taliban terrorists in the Kandahar region of Afghanistan, Van Ardenne said.

The opposition Labour and Green-left parties in the Dutch parliament have called for the helicopters to be sent to Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Dutch faith-based groups, Kerkinactie and ICCO, said on Tuesday that they had made EUR 1.5 million available for the relief effort in Pakistan.

The aid been sent via a partner organisation and is being used to give 8,000 families food and emergency accommodation in the North West Frontier province and Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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