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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 October 2005, 18:01 GMT 19:01 UK
UK pledges 10m to quake appeal
British aid plane being unloaded in Kashmir
Plane with UK earthquake aid being unloaded in Kashmir
The government is to give an extra 10m to help survivors of the South Asia earthquake, bringing the UK commitment to relief work to 12m.

Tony Blair said helicopters would be sent to Pakistan and Kashmir to ensure aid reached the worst affected areas.

Also, a planeload of UK supplies is being sent from Dubai on Thursday.

The public has also pledged 2m to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an umbrella group of 13 UK charities. At least 23,000 people died in the quake.

'Sympathy and support'

Mr Blair told MPs Britain was playing its full part in the international aid effort and offered the "sympathy and support" of the House.

"We will continue to respond as needs unfold," he said.

He said no British citizen was known to be among the casualties, at the moment, but many British families would have lost relatives and friends.

Up to 1.5 million Britons are thought to have known someone affected by the disaster, which has left an estimated two million people homeless.

Disasters Emergency Committee
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DEC: Action Aid, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International, Christian Aid, Concern, Help the Aged, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision

The Prince of Wales visited a Muslim community centre in west London to meet families who lost loved ones in the earthquake.

Among those due to meet him was Saba Zaman, 25, from Tooting, south London, who lost 32 relatives in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

"It hasn't really sunk in yet. I've lost cousins, aunts and uncles too, mostly from my mother's side," she said.

Teenagers rescued

Meanwhile, a UK education charity has expressed its fears that many of the 900 pupils at its schools in Pakistan have been killed or orphaned.

Learning for Life said children were in class at the time of the disaster - and they were "nervous and afraid" of what might have happened.

On Wednesday UK rescuers pulled two teenagers from a collapsed religious school about 10km from Muzaffarabad.

The International Rescue Corps said it was a "significant success", coming four days after the initial earthquake.

The Rapid UK search and rescue team is also still in the region.

A boy (centre) is freed from the rubble of an apartment block by a Rapid UK rescue team
UK rescuers are continuing their search for survivors
Earlier, the first UK aid flight, laden with tents and blankets and other relief, arrived in Islamabad.

The goods will be fed through by workers with Oxfam and Islamic Relief to the worst-affected areas of Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir - some of which have not yet been reached.

Another British relief flight, from the charity Oxfam, is due to head for Pakistan on Thursday afternoon.

Thirty tonnes of aid, including blankets, water tanks and children's clothing, are due to arrive in Islamabad on Friday morning.

'Extreme weather'

UK government trucks are also on the way from Lahore with 1,000 tents and 10,000 tarpaulins.

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Mike Goodhand, a planner for the British Red Cross, said aid had to get to isolated communities quickly because of extreme weather conditions.

"In four or five weeks time we might not be able to get back to some of the affected areas because of snow," he said.

The United Nations has launched an appeal for around $272m (151m) to help victims of the quake.

The UK's pledge of 10m made on Wednesday is for United Nations appeal is for around $272m (151m) to help victims of the quake. It is in addition to 2.1m which has already been committed to Britain's own aid efforts.

How people in the UK are helping the relief effort


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