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NATO to Send Engineers, Medical Teams to Quake-hit Pakistan

21 October 2005

NATO is considering a plan to send hundreds of military engineers to earthquake hit Pakistan, as well as medical units to set up a field hospital for the injured there.

The move follows an appeal by the top U.N. relief coordinator Jan Egeland to Nato to think "big and bold" in considering a response to the world's most difficult relief effort going on in Pakistani Kashmir. He said the world is not doing what it can to save lives.

NATO military experts finalized the plan early Friday before asking for approval from the North Atlantic Council.

The organization plan would deploy engineers and medics from the elite NATO Response Force to clear roads blocked by the October 8 earthquake and subsequent mudslides, and to set up field hospitals.

NATO has acknowledged that it is short of the light helicopters urgently sought by Pakistan to reach remote areas. Up to two million Pakistanis remain out in the open without any shelter.

Washington is expected to have 40 helicopters on the ground in coming weeks.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf says the death toll will go beyond 50,000. Officials say some 74,000 people have been injured.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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