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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 November 2005, 15:44 GMT
Quake pledges exceed aid target
Earthquake survivors
Millions are homeless after the earthquake
International donors have pledged some $5.4bn (3.14bn) to help Pakistan recover from last month's devastating earthquake, the prime minister says.

The figure exceeds the $5.2bn Pakistan had been asking for.

The extra pledges, much of them in the form of low interest loans, came at an international donor conference in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.

India has also allowed some civilians to cross into Pakistani-controlled Kashmir to be united with relatives.

President Pervez Musharraf appealed to India to use the disaster to settle their dispute over Kashmir, declaring both sides should work together to resolve the issue "once and for all".

Pakistani-administered Kashmir is the area worst affected by the 8 October earthquake.

Pakistan says the death toll stands at more than 73,000. About three million people were initially made homeless.

Another 1,400 died in Indian-administered Kashmir.

'Better future'

"The rough total we have as of now is $5.4bn," Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said as the Islamabad conference drew to a close.

The Muslim states of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE and Turkey were the largest donors, he told the BBC's Today programme, but the quake tragedy "transcended faith and religion".

Pledges include:

  • $1bn from the Asian Development Bank including $300m for transport, power, health, education and governance

  • $1bn from the World Bank

  • $510m from the United States

  • significant sums from the Islamic Development Bank, Saudi Arabia, China and the International Monetary Fund

On Thursday, the UK announced an extra $120m (70m) pledge.

Of the money needed, $3.5bn has been earmarked for rebuilding the local infrastructure and homes, the rest set aside for helping the worst affected get through the winter months.

HOW TO DONATE
Kashmiris in Uri
Disasters Emergency Committee (UK)
World Food Programme
Kashmir International Relief Fund
Red Cross/ Red Crescent

The BBC's Zaffar Abbas reports from Islamabad that there are two chief reasons why donors have been so generous:

Representatives of most of the donor countries visited quake-hit areas before the conference; and Pakistan provided firm guarantees of transparency in the utilisation of the funds.

Delegates from 50 countries, the United Nations and aid agencies took part in the conference, hearing criticism from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan that response to the UN's appeal had been "weak" and "tardy".

He had been invited to attend by President Musharraf in the hope of renewing international interest in the crisis.

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