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India announces additional $20m aid to flood-hit Pak

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, Aug 31, IRNA -- India on Tuesday announced an additional $20 million assistance to Pakistan which is grappling with the worst floods in recent history of the region.

The announcement by External Affairs Minister S M Krishna in the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Indian Parliament) comes in the wake of Pakistan's readiness to accept India's initial aid offer of USD 5 million which is to be routed through the United Nations.

'As a more concrete assessment of the damage inflicted by this natural disaster and the urgent needs of the people of Pakistan emerges, Government has decided to increase its assistance to Pakistan from $ 5 million, announced earlier, to $ 25 million,' he said in a suo motu statement.

Of the total aid, $ 20 million would be contributed to the 'Pakistan Initial Floods Emergency Response Plan' launched by the UN office for the coordination of humanitarian efforts, Krishna said.

The balance USD 5 million would be contributed to the World Food Programme for its relief efforts in Pakistan, Indian Minister added.

He noted that India had offered $ 5 million aid to Pakistan during his telephonic talks with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on August 13.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in a conversation with Pakistan Premier Yusuf Raza Gilani on August 19, had conveyed that India was ready to do more to assist the neighbouring country which is facing the worst floods in the past 80 years.

Pakistan was reluctant to accept the aid and agreed only after a nudge from the US. However, last week Pakistan conveyed to India to route the aid through the UN.

'We cannot remain unconcerned with this grave humanitarian crisis of enormous magnitude in our immediate neighbourhood,' Krishna said.

He noted that the recent floods have been described as the worst in that part of the region in the last 80 years.

According to the latest UN figures, 17.2 million people have been affected by the floods which have left 1,600 people dead.

More than 1.2 million houses have been damaged or destroyed besides widespread damage to infrastructure, Krishna said.

'All the four provinces of Pakistan and Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir have suffered the consequences,' he said.

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