Source Pravda.Ru

Pakistan to get 80 million euros from European Commission

The European Commission has proposed giving at least 80 million euros ($96 million) in fresh aid for reconstruction and relief for the survivors of the Oct. 8 earthquake in Pakistan, the EU executive body said on Monday.

"The challenge of reconstructing lives and livelihoods in the aftermath of this terrible natural disaster will be with us for many years," EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said in a statement.

The Commission has already released nearly 14 million euros in emergency humanitarian aid and said it would seek fast approval for the new tranche.

"The Commission hopes and expects that the (EU) Parliament and Council will recognise the urgency of the situation and move as quickly as possible to unblock these additional funds," it said, adding that more funds could be needed in coming months.

A spokeswoman said a decision might be taken this week.

Aid officials have called on the world to provide more money to help up to 3 million people made homeless by the quake, which killed at least 53,000 and left over 75,000 badly injured. In a statement coinciding with an EU development ministers' meeting on Monday, the British-based aid agency Oxfam said Pakistan relief efforts suffered a lack of funds and showed the need to improve financing of an existing U.N. global emergency fund.

"Two weeks after the Pakistan earthquake, the U.N. is having to spend time begging the European Union and other rich donor countries for funds instead of being able to concentrate solely on saving lives," Oxfam policy adviser Greg Puley said.

Oxfam said the fund so far had resources amounting to $187 million but it estimated that the annual shortfall of U.N. humanitarian needs stood at some $1 billion, reports Reuters. I.L.

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