Britain doubles emergency aid to Pakistan

13:58, August 20, 2010      

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Britain on Thursday announced that it will donate an additional 51 million U.S. dollars to emergency relief efforts in flood-stricken Pakistan, which brings Britain's contribution to just under 100 million U.S. dollars.

The announcement came as British Secretary of State Andrew Mitchell was taking the floor at a plenary meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, aimed at strengthening the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance to Pakistan.

Mitchell came straight from Pakistan on Thursday to the plenary meeting and described what he saw as "scenes of total destruction. "

"The response of the international community so far has been woefully inadequate. The only acceptable outcome from the special session today is that the UN's appeal should be fully, if not over- funded by the time we conclude tonight," he said.

Mitchell said that if this would not happen, "the world will rightly draw the conclusion that the international community will have failed in their duty."

The British government already pledged nearly 50 million U.S. dollars to the humanitarian response and accelerated a program to replace bridges and provide new bridges washed away by the floods.

In addition, the British public raised nearly 25 million U.S. dollars through a British emergency committee.

The Royal Air Force currently helps to transport basic equipment such as tents and shelter kits.

"It is now imperative that all wealthy countries step up and give vigorous support to Pakistan," Mitchell said.

Close to 54.4 million Pakistanis have been affected by the worst natural disaster in the country's history, the UN reports.

Source: Xinhua


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