Source Pravda.Ru

More than 3 million people became homeless after quake

The death toll in Pakistan from the October 8 earthquake has risen to 54,197, while the number of injured has increased to about 78,000, most of them with multiple fractures, the Federal Relief Commission told CNN Wednesday.

More than 3.3 million people have been left homeless as a result of the quake, which affected about 9,700 square miles (25,000 square kilometers).

Pakistan's president, General Pervez Musharraf, said Wednesday that efforts to provide shelter, medical treatment and other aid to the victims were being redoubled in the face of the imminent arrival of winter in the North West Frontier province and the state of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, regions hardest-hit by the disaster.

"We are racing against time to shield the victims from cold weather in the mountainous region," he said as a U.N. conference sought more international financial aid for the country.

Speaking to a delegation of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Musharraf said the country was working to get tents for the millions made homeless.

He said he appreciated the rapid international relief assistance extended to the country in the wake of the worst natural disaster in Pakistan's history.

Meanwhile, the United Nations said Wednesday donors had pledged an additional $580 million for Pakistan's earthquake victims.

The U.N. had requested $550 million in immediate aid on the eve of the donors' conference in Geneva on Wednesday, but officials said some of the new money might go to other humanitarian organizations or future reconstruction projects, The Associated Press reports.

Jan Egeland, the head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said that so far $111 million had been specifically earmarked for the U.N. appeal to help victims of the 7.6-magnitude quake that killed nearly 80,000 people.

Pakistan has said rebuilding the area will cost $5 billion.

"The good news is that we have very good pledges, but the bad news for us is that too little is committed to the U.N.'s flash appeal," he told reporters after the meeting, as he harshly criticized donors giving money for reconstruction.

"It is not right to sit with the money for reconstruction for one year from now if it is a question of whether people will still be alive," Egeland said, according to AP.

He earlier warned that more resources were needed to save 2 million to 3 million lives.

The flash appeal is for U.N. agencies and a number of charities, including Save The Children and Catholic Relief Services. It does not cover separate appeals by agencies such as the Red Cross, even though some are working with U.N. agencies in the field, reports CNN. I.L.

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