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Turkey takes lead in quake aid

Sat., Oct. 22, 2005

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Moved by scenes of a disaster that has shocked relief workers and defied an effective global response, Turkey’s prime minister Friday pledged $150 million in aid to the more than 3 million people left injured and homeless from the Oct. 8 earthquake.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s pledge pushed Turkey to the head of the list of international donors who are helping ease the suffering inflicted across northern Pakistan by the worst natural disaster in this country’s 58-year history.

But U.N. officials warned that the world’s response is falling far short of the billions required to feed and shelter the victims through the harsh and swiftly approaching Himalayan winter. Many survivors remain marooned in remote mountain hamlets two weeks after the devastating temblor.

The United Nations’ top official for humanitarian operations, Jan Egeland, said in Geneva that barely one-quarter of the $312 million in quake relief sought by the world body had been raised.

U.S. officials say they’ve sent $17 million of their original pledge of $50 million to groups that are providing assistance on the ground. U.S. aircraft have delivered hundreds of tons of food and supplies to Pakistan, and 19 helicopters are in use to bring in supplies and evacuate survivors.

U.S. officials also are encouraging Americans to donate privately and are promoting an upcoming international donors conference.


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