Saturday, May 23, 2009

Britain announces 10 mln pounds more for displaced

LONDON: Britain announced Friday an extra 10 million pounds (15.9 million dollars, 11.4 million euros) in aid to help huge numbers of people displaced by a military offensive in northwest Pakistan.

The new money brings Britain's contribution to 22 million pounds, and will be distributed via UN agencies working in the affected areas, said international development minister Douglas Alexander.

"The UK is deeply concerned for the wellbeing of over two million people displaced by this conflict. A mass movement of people of this scale poses huge humanitarian challenges," he said.

The announcement came after the United Nations appealed for a total of 543 million dollars to help, as people continue to stream out of the conflict zone into camps set up in different parts of the North West Frontier Province.

The UN puts the number of displaced people at 1.7 million.

The British minister said aid agencies were doing "heroic" work under extremely difficult conditions," adding that Britain remained determined to support their efforts.

"This extra money will help the UN manage a coordinated and effective international response to this crisis to allow those affected by the fighting (to) take the first steps towards rebuilding their lives," said Alexander.

"The UK stands ready to assist the government of Pakistan to combat the shared threat of violent extremism and we remain strongly committed to our partnership with the people of Pakistan," he added.

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