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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 October 2005, 19:25 GMT 20:25 UK
Quake appeal raises fresh $580m
Earthquake survivors in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan
Many survivors need shelter and food before winter
International donors have pledged $580m (327m) of new funds to help victims of the South Asia earthquake, after warnings of an impending catastrophe.

The promises followed a UN appeal for a huge increase in funds - though the body said too little of the new cash had been earmarked for sole UN use.

The UN says more resources are needed to save more than 3m people in mountain villages who lack food and shelter.

Secretary General Kofi Annan said a "winter without pity" was looming.

Relief workers say they face a race against time to provide shelter and food stocks for hundreds of thousands of people in Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

"All humanitarian organisations are acutely aware that our window of opportunity for action is closing with the onset of the severe winter," UN relief coordinator Jan Egeland said in a statement in Geneva.

As if to underline the problems, bad weather grounded the vital international helicopter aid fleet at the main airbase near the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, on Wednesday.

New aftershocks also sparked fears of more landslides in the quake zone. There have been more than 970 such shocks following the 8 October disaster.

'Reconstruction money'

Before the donors' conference began in the Swiss city, less than 30% of the UN's original target of $312m had been pledged, the UK-based charity Oxfam noted.

The scale of this tragedy almost defies our darkest imagination
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan

But other aid pledged to Pakistan outside the remit of the UN had brought the total to more than $700m. That was before the further pledges by the end of the day.

Mr Egeland said the puprose of much of the money promised had not been specified.

"The good news is that we have very good pledges, but the bad news for us is that too little is committed to the UN's flash appeal," he told reporters.

About half of the new money is being supplied by Islamic countries, the UN said.

'New wave'

Mr Annan told the conference in Geneva that there was still time to stop a wave of "deaths and despair caused by freezing temperatures and disease, by lack of shelter, food and water".

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has said the financial cost of the quake will be more than $5bn.

Disasters Emergency Committee (UK)
World Food Programme
Kashmir International Relief Fund
Red Cross/ Red Crescent

Before the conference opened, Oxfam suggested that some Western countries had given less than their "fair share" to the UN appeal as large economies.

"The logistical nightmare in Pakistan is bad enough without having to worry about funding shortfalls as well," said Oxfam policy director Phil Bloomer.

But countries which have not pledged cash sums to the UN appeal have been helping in other ways, such as through the Red Cross.

France, for instance, has donated $9m to various aid bodies including the Red Cross and provided personnel for a Nato mission. "It doesn't mean we won't give to the UN appeal at some point but at the moment we are happy with the structures we are working within," Vincent Floriani, a French embassy spokesman in London, told the BBC News website.

"We may not be the biggest donor, but we feel we are doing our bit."


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