Norwegian PM arrives quake-hit Pakistani regions

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg traveled to Pakistan's quake-hit region on Tuesday, visiting refugee camps and a Norwegian field hospital for survivors of the disaster two months ago that left 3.5 million people homeless, officials said. Stoltenberg arrived in Pakistan late Monday for a three-day visit. He traveled to Balakot, a town in northwestern Pakistan that was flattened in the Oct. 8 quake and Muzaffarabad, the almost ruined capital of Pakistan's portion of divided Kashmir.

Stoltenberg was to meet with his Pakistani counterpart, Shaukat Aziz, in the capital Islamabad later Tuesday.

More than 87,000 died in the quake. Norway was among the first nations to send relief and pledge financial assistance for the quake victims.

Stoltenberg said Norway has increased its financial aid to Pakistan to US$73.8 million (Ђ62.60 million) in the wake of the earthquake, Pakistan's English-language daily The News reported Monday.

In an interview with the News in Oslo, before leaving for Pakistan, Stoltenberg said he has asked the Norwegian Parliament to further increase aid. He said the world has not done enough to get relief to Pakistan.

"It is a great paradox that while the world community was able to mobilize aid very efficiently to support the victims of the tsunami, they have not been as forthcoming with respect to what happened in Pakistan," The News quoted Stoltenberg as saying, reports the AP. I.L.

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