Pakistan says it’s not aware of India’s $20M offer for flood relief

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) — India offered another $20 million in aid to its neighbor and rival Pakistan on Tuesday, but an official in the flood-ravaged country said he has no knowledge of the aid.

Abdul Basit, spokesman for Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry, said Tuesday he is not aware of such an offer by India. Basit said India was formally notified that Pakistan would accept an earlier offer of $5 million through the United Nations — but not directly from India.

He said Pakistan did not accept the aid directly from India because “that is our government’s policy.” However, Basit said, Pakistan has received aid directly from other countries.

The world community has geared up to help Pakistan recover from the devastating floods. More than 1,600 people have died in the colossal tragedy, according to the country’s disaster authority, and at least 17 million Pakistanis have been affected.

In the United States, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton encouraged donations to the Pakistan Relief Fund In television and radio public service announcements released by the Ad Council on Tuesday.The new PSAs, which include television and radio spots and Web banners, urge audiences to visit, where they can make donations.

“Now is a time for our shared humanity to move us to help. That is why the United States government through the Department of State has established the Pakistan Relief Fund for all Americans to join in this tremendous relief, recovery and reconstruction effort,” Clinton says in the message.

The money will go toward U.S. government programs or to give money to international programs focused on relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan. Daniel Feldman, deputy to the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, told reporters on Monday that the flood crest is reaching the Indian Ocean, but it may take weeks to determine what Pakistan will need to recover, and “we calculate that the needs are going to be absolutely vast.”

“The good news at this point is is that in most places waters are no longer rising but are finally receding,” Feldman said. He also said that the United States is planning to deploy 18 more helicopters to supplement the 15 already there.

He said that, in addition to some $200 million in aid pledged by the U.S. government, American companies are providing assistance — including $1 million from Coca Cola and $1 million and dried food items from Sheraton, $1 million

from BP, and $600,000 in cash and water purification tablets from Procter & Gamble.

The U.N. World Health Organization said this week that health services are a priority for humanitarian agencies, as many of those affected by the floods need treatment for diarrhea, skin infections, respiratory problems and malaria.

WHO said about 400 of the more than 1,000 health facilities in flood-affected regions have been damaged or destroyed, and it could take months before such facilities can be rebuilt or restored.

About 3.7 million people were reported to have received some medical treatment from July 29 to August 23..

“Of those, 500,000 were cases of acute diarrhoea, 517,000 involved acute respiratory infections, there were 693,000 cases of skin infections and 94,000 suspected cases of malaria,” the United.Nations said – CNN