India announces $20m more aid for Pakistan

NEW DELHI: India has announced an additional monetary assistance of $20 million to Pakistan to help it tackle the worst-ever floods witnessed in recent past.

Making the announcement in the Lok Sabha, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said the decision followed Pakistan’s willingness to accept India’s initial offer of $5 million, to be routed through the United Nations. He made a similar announcement in the Rajya Sabha.

He made a similar announcement in the Rajya Sabha too.

“As a more concrete assessment of the damage caused by this natural disaster and the urgent needs of the people of Pakistan emerge, the [Indian] government has decided to increase its assistance … from $5 million, announced earlier, to $25 million,” he said in a suo motu statement.

Of the total money, $20 million would go to the ‘Pakistan Initial Floods Emergency Response Plan’ through the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Efforts. The rest would be contributed to the U.N. World Food Programme. Mr. Krishna recalled that India offered $5 million, when he spoke on the telephone to his Pakistan counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on August 13. On August 19, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told his Pakistan counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani that India was ready to do more.

Initially, Pakistan was reluctant to accept the aid, but agreed after the U.S. intervened. However, Pakistan asked India last week to route the aid through the U.N.

“We cannot remain unconcerned with this grave humanitarian crisis … in our immediate neighbourhood,” Mr. Krishna said.

Quoting the latest U.N. figures, he said the floods, described as the worst in that part of the region in the past 80 years, killed 1,600 people and affected 17.2 million. More than 1.2 million houses were damaged or destroyed. “All the four provinces of Pakistan and the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir have suffered the consequences.” – Hindu