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Nato to provide planes and ships for Pakistan aid

Friday, 20 Aug, 2010
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Flood survivors gather for food supplies at a distribution point at Shah Jamal village in Punjab. -AFP Photo

BRUSSELS: Nato said on Friday it would provide ships and aircraft to transport aid to flood-stricken Pakistan, a day after Islamabad warned that militants were trying to exploit the disaster.

A statement from the Western military alliance, which is battling militants in Pakistan's neighbour Afghanistan, said a Nato aircraft would fly in power generators, water pumps and tents donated by Slovakia on Sunday.

The mission followed a decision by the 28 Nato nations on Friday to “provide airlift and sealift for the delivery of aid donated by nations and humanitarian relief organisations”, the statement said.

A Nato spokeswoman said future missions would depend on requests from the Pakistani authorities, donors and aid agencies.

Nato mounted a major relief operation after the devastating 2005 earthquake in Pakistan's Kashmir region. Earlier this month it said it was taking on a coordinating role for flood aid deliveries from its members and partners.

More than 4 million Pakistanis have been made homeless by nearly three weeks of floods, making urgent the critical task of securing enough aid. Twice that number are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari warned on Thursday that militants were trying to exploit the floods to promote their agendas, as they did after the Kashmir earthquake.

Islamic charities have moved swiftly to fill the vacuum left by a government overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster and struggling to reach millions of people in dire need of shelter, food and drinking water.

The United Nations has issued an appeal for $459 million of aid to help Pakistan deal with the floods, of which Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said about 60 percent had been pledged.

The United States led a stream of new aid pledges for Pakistan on Thursday, upping its total pledge to $150 million, to rectify a humanitarian response that has been criticised as too slow.

The European Union promised a further 30 million euros ($38.5 million) on top of 110 million euros already committed. -Reuters

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Tags: nato pakistan floods humanitarian aid

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