Saturday, October 15, 2005

South Asian Quake Roundup

The death toll is officially going to break 40,000 and probably rise higher than that. Pakistan may actually accept aid offer from Israel.
Pakistan — Pakistan on Saturday welcomed an offer of earthquake assistance from Israel but said it would have to be channeled through the United Nations, the Red Cross (search) or donated to a relief fund.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam (search) said since Pakistan does not have diplomatic relations with Israel it could not receive aid directly from the Jewish state.

That's despite a landmark meeting last month between the two countries' foreign ministers, the first such high-level contact — in response to Israel's pullout from the Gaza Strip (search).
Pakistan wants the aid to go through channels that would essentially sanitize the source - so the aid comes through the UN rather than from Israel directly. Pakistan recognizes that it needs all the aid it can get, but isn't nearly ready to accept direct aid from Israel. This is a pretty big development nonetheless. Time will tell whether this kind of news makes its way through the Arab news and to the locals who might be helped by Israeli aid. Hearts and minds you know.

The quake appears to have caused more than $6.6 billion. More than 3 million people are homeless in Pakistan with winter approaching. Among the kind of aid being requested are winterized tents for hospitals and shelters. Aftershocks continue to rock the region, keeping people on edge. The weather isn't making things any easier to get aid to more remote areas.

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