Britain raises Pakistan flood aid to 134 million pounds

20th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Britain said Sunday it would more than double its aid to Pakistan to 134 million pounds in response to a United Nations appeal to help the flood-hit country recover.

Britain's International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell made the announcement, which takes the aid pledged by London to the equivalent of 210 million dollars or 160 million euros, at the UN in New York.

London had already committed 64 million pounds in aid and the new pledge was for 70 million pounds.

"Britain will continue its leading role, standing by Pakistan in its hour of need," said Mitchell. "Grave challenges lie ahead as people in Pakistan begin to recover from the floods."

He was one of 25 top ministers, including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who gathered to pledge more aid for the crisis in Pakistan in response to a record two-billion-dollar appeal from the UN.

Mitchell said 60 million pounds of the new money promised by Britain would be used to help get people back to work, rebuild devastated farms, and get children back to school.

The remaining 10 million pounds of the additional funds would be used in southern Pakistan to help avert a public health emergency, he said.

Money previously pledged had provided aid which included planes carrying supplies, emergency shelter and safe drinking water, according to the government.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called the floods "the worst natural disaster the United Nations has responded to in its 65-year history."

The floods, caused by weeks of torrential rain have killed more than 1,700 people, according to an official toll, but the UN said the massive surge has exposed more than 20 million people to homelessness, malnutrition, risks of epidemics and loss of livelihood.

© 2010 AFP

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