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Relief group calls for help to Pakistan quake survivors
www.chinaview.cn 2005-12-20 23:33:30

    ISLAMABAD, Dec. 20 (Xinhuanet) -- With thousands of earthquake survivors facing severe winter in the mountainous regions of northern Pakistan, the head of Oxfam GB has warned that help must arrive soon to prevent a second humanitarian catastrophe.

    "With the onset of winter, thousands of people remain vulnerable," said the Oxfam chief Ms Barbara Stocking, who arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday.

    Oxfam is the UK branch of an emergency relief organization. Oxfam International is supervising the charity's earthquake response operations in Pakistan.

    "The international community has still not responded with urgently needed resources," said Stocking.

    On Wednesday, Stocking will visit the devastated districts around Muzafarabad and the affected areas near Abbotabad in the North West Frontier Province.

    Oxfam has called for the United Nations to be given more resources in order to co-ordinate and bolster the relief effort. The UN is trying to scale up its operations but is hindered by lack of funding, it said.

    According to an Oxfam press release, the UN has received less than half of the money it requested for its initial response to the October earthquake, while many pledges for the second phase ofreconstruction have similarly failed to materialize.

    Of the 551 million US dollars requested for the UN emergency appeal, it said, less than 230 million dollars has reached the UN. Additionally, whereas 1.1 billion dollars was promised for Pakistan's reconstruction efforts, less than 800 million dollars has materialized. Many of these pledges were in any case loans rather than grants.

    Oxfam has urged donor governments to match the generosity of public donations. With winter bringing freezing temperatures, thousands may soon die unless resources for better shelter and improved camp management arrives quickly. Enditem

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