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UN Provides Cash To Earthquake-Hit Pakistan

UN Provides Cash To Earthquake-Hit Pakistan While Experts Coordinate Relief Response

United Nations experts in Pakistan coordinating the humanitarian response to yesterday's massive earthquake today set up structures to facilitate the relief effort, which is also being supported by an initial cash grant the world body has provided to the Government.

The eight-member UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) set up a coordination centre in Islamabad, an on-site coordination centre in Muzaffarabad and a reception centre at Islamabad airport in order to assist national authorities to deal effectively with international aid.

Six additional experts are expected in Pakistan later today, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

In Islamabad yesterday, the UN Disaster Management Team met with most of the international and national non-governmental organizations working in the field of humanitarian assistance.

That team comprised three UN inter-agency rapid assessment groups which deployed today. The first, led by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), is in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province. The second, led by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), is in Jammu and Kashmir. The third, headed by the International Non-Governmental Organisations Forum, is in the Northern Areas.

OCHA has already released a $100,000 emergency cash grant for immediate delivery of relief aid.

Following tremors yesterday that recorded 7.4 on the Richter scale, there have been more than ten aftershocks of magnitude from 5.2 to 6.3, OCHA said. Massive destruction has taken place in six northern districts of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province and in five districts of Jammu and Kashmir State, including Muzaffarabad, where reports indicate large-scale causalities and injuries.

The high intensity of the earthquake in Pakistan was also felt in Afghanistan and across northern India. In India, where buildings have collapsed, official reports confirm the death of more t and more than 400 injured. There is minor damage in Afghanistan, where two people are reported to have been killed.

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