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US promises aid a year after Pakistan quake

US offered on Friday its prayers and a continued pledge to help Pakistan rebuild a year after the earthquake.

india Updated: Oct 07, 2006 10:20 IST

The United States offered on Friday its prayers and a continued pledge to help Pakistan rebuild a year after a devastating earthquake killed 74,000 people and left 3.5 million homeless in Pakistan.

"We join the people of Pakistan during this month of Ramadan, as they mourn the tragic loss of so many innocent victims, and our thoughts and heartfelt prayers are with them at this time of remembrance," State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey said.

The international aid group Oxfam said this week that a year after the October 8, 7.6 magnitude earthquake, 1.8 million people were still living in temporary shelters.

Their report followed criticism of the government of President Pervez Musharraf for not doing enough to rebuild since the quake.

Musharraf, a key US ally who met in Washington with President George W Bush last week, challenged the Oxfam figures on Thursday during a meeting of the first annual conference of the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority.

But he said Pakistan still needed an extra 800 million dollars from domestic and international donors for housing reconstruction in quake-hit areas.

Casey said Washington, which has pledged more than 200 million dollars in reconstruction aid over the next four years, remains committed to playing a major role in the rebuilding effort.

"As we join the people of Pakistan at this time of remembrance, we wish to reaffirm our commitment to working together towards a hopeful and prosperous future," he said.

He did not specifically refer to Musharraf's appeal for additional aid.

The US government already provided more than 240 million dollars in emergency assistance following the 2005 quake while the private sector contributed another 100 million dollars, Casey said.

First Published: Oct 07, 2006 10:20 IST