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U.S. Boosts Pakistan Quake Aid to $510 Million

November 19, 2005|From Associated Press

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The United States nearly tripled its pledge for earthquake relief to $510 million at a donors' conference today. The U.S. had already promised Pakistan about $180 million, $54 million of which had been spent.

Andrew S. Natsios, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, said it was America's turn to give, after the generosity of the international community in helping the United States recover from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Washington has also sent 1,200 troops, 24 helicopters, heavy equipment and two mobile hospitals to the quake zone.

Pakistan hopes to get $5.2 billion for rebuilding after the Oct. 8 quake, which killed 86,000 people in Pakistani territory and 1,350 in neighboring India. Pakistan says it has so far received just $211.2 million.

Earlier Saturday, the Asian Development Bank pledged about $1 billion, some of it in grants and some in reallocation of existing loans.

On Friday, in Muzaffarabad,

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan chided the international community for its "weak and tardy" response to the calamity.

"If we do not hit our target tomorrow, we need to keep trying. We have to keep pressing donor governments, the private sector and individuals to try harder. I don't think we can cross our arms and sit back and relax because we made one attempt and we did not get all that we wanted," Annan said.

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