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Europe gives earthquake victims immediate support

Canberra, 11 October 2005

Europe gives immediate support for South Asia earthquake victims

The European Commission has pledged more than €3 million towards providing urgent assistance to victims of the earthquake in Pakistan and India. The aim is to meet immediate humanitarian needs and provide items such as shelter, blankets, water, food and medical assistance.

The funds are being administered by the Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO), and through experienced operational partners already working in the region. Based on the needs assessed so far, the Commission is already working on a follow-up funding package for more extensive aid.

The South Asia earthquake is believed to be one of the largest to hit the region in more than 100 years.

Most recent reports put the death toll at more than 30,000, with over 40,000 people injured, and thousands homeless.

In response to the Pakistani Government’s request for international assistance, the European Commission has allocated €3.6 million towards emergency aid, and has dispatched experts to the field to carry out emergency assessments.

The EU’s Civil Response Mechanism was also activated upon news of the earthquake, with a number of European Union Member States able to coordinate pledges of immediate funds and assistance. So far, France, the UK, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Poland and the Netherlands have already sent assistance in the form of Search and Rescue teams, doctors and field hospitals to the area. Italy, Hungary and Finland have also said they will help.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has sent messages to both President Musharraf of Pakistan and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, expressing his condolences and Europe’s support.

"I was profoundly shocked to hear of yesterday’s terrible earthquake that hit parts of India, notably Kashmir, as well as Pakistan and Afghanistan,” President Barroso said.

“Our heartfelt thoughts go out to the victims' families and loved ones. The European Commission stands ready to help and has offered assistance to all countries affected."

This will most likely include money for emergency care and support for children and orphans.
For more information on the European Commission’s response, go to: http://europa.eu.int/comm/echo/index_en.htm

ENDS

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