Sweden gives more earthquake aid

The Swedish government has authorized Sida, the Swedish Agency for International Development Cooperation, to contribute 82 million kronor to the United Nations appeal for humanitarian assistance in South Asia.

The latest contribution takes Sweden’s total aid to the region since the earthquake to 105 million kronor.

“It is the duty of the international community to help the people who have been affected” says Minister for International Development Cooperation Carin Jämtin.

“The earthquake has caused a major humanitarian disaster. It is most gratifying, therefore, that many countries and humanitarian organizations have been able to respond very quickly. We want to offer rapid and flexible support to the UN in its efforts to lead and implement initiatives in the area,” said Jämtin.

Sweden is prepared to provide further support as the situation develops, Jämtin added.

The epicentre of the 7.6 magnitude earthquake was approximately 50 miles from Islamabad, Pakistan. At least 30,000 people have been killed and villages in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India have been devastated.

The number of people left without adequate food, water, and shelter by the quake remains unknown, but the UN estimates that 4 million people have been affected. 2 million remain homeless as hope of finding more survivors grows slimmer.

The Swedish contribution is an answer to Tuesdays United Nations appeal to the international community for $272 million to provide emergency supplies such as tents, medical aid and helicopters for six months.

So far, some 30 nations have contributed money, relief supplies and manpower. United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annans spokeman said on Monday:

“The emergency teams dispatched by the United Nations have been working since October 8th around the clock in support of national authorities to ensure a rapid assessment of the needs and an effective coordination of international assistance”.

<i<David Stavrou