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 » Where the quake hit  |  2005 major quakes  |  Quake magnitudes

Pakistan aid pledges top $5.8bn

From CNN Producer Syed Mohsin Naqvi

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Representatives from about 50 countries listen to the speech by President Musharraf.

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Emotional campaigning and lobbying at an international donors conference yielded pledges of about $3 billion to assist Pakistan following last month's South Asian earthquake -- enough to cover the estimated expenses of assisting victims and rebuilding the stricken region.

The new pledges, from dozens of governments and financial institutions, brought the total amount pledged for the region to about $5.8 billion.

Emotional campaigning and lobbying at an international donors conference yielded pledges of about $3 billion to assist Pakistan following last month's South Asian earthquake -- enough to cover the estimated expenses of assisting victims and rebuilding the stricken region.

In a report earlier this month, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank said the quake would cost Pakistan about $5.2 billion.

Before the conference, about $2.5 billion had been pledged.

"Each and every cent we receive and goods we receive will be used for the earthquake affected areas. We really thank all the contributors, we thank all of those present," said Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.

One of the largest offers came from the United States, which upped its pledge to $510 million -- tripling the original pledge.

The U.S. offer to Pakistan -- a key ally in the battle against Islamist terrorism -- includes $300 million in cash, $100 million in private donations and $110 million in military-supplied relief, said Andrew S. Natsios, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

"President Bush has asked five of the United States' most prominent corporate chief executive officers to lead a private fundraising effort for the newly-created South Asia Earthquake Relief and Reconstruction Fund," Natsios said at the conference. "I am confident that they will reach the $100 million goal they have set for their efforts."

Twenty-four U.S. helicopters, two emergency field hospitals, an engineering unit and 1,200 U.S. soldiers are involved in relief operations in the area affected by the quake, he said.

More than 73,000 people in Pakistan died in the 7.6-magnitude quake on October 8, according to Pakistani authorities. India blamed it for another 1,200 deaths in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

"Children are the main victims because they happened to be in the school at the time. The major brunt of the casualties has been taken by the children. They say a full generation has been lost," Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf told delegates.

"Frankly, asking for anything from anyone does not come too easy to me, but for the country, for the sake of the people affected there, I will go to any extent and I will talk very frankly to you."

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said many survivors are homeless and bracing for a bitterly cold, snowy Himalayan winter.

"The difficult terrain makes this one of the most challenging operations ever undertaken. The pitiless Himalayan winter is almost upon us and growing more and more severe every week. We must sustain our efforts to keep people as healthy and as strong as possible until we can rebuild," Annan said.

He had previously chided nations for a weak financial response, telling reporters, "When so many people are affected, none of us should be indifferent."

Represented at the donors' meeting were 50 countries, 19 international agencies and banks and corporations. About 25 countries were represented at ministerial and deputy ministerial levels.

Some of the major pledges made at the conference, in U.S. dollars:

  • The Asian Development Bank pledged $1 billion
  • The World Bank nearly doubled its pledge to $1 billion
  • The Islamic Development Bank double its pledge to $500 million
  • Iran pledged $200 million in addition to $150 million previously pledged
  • China will provide $300 million in soft loans
  • Turkey pledged $150 million
  • France pledged $94 million
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