The Asian Development Bank said Friday it has approved US$1.33 billion (Ђ1.1 billion) in grants and loans for Pakistan to rebuild quake-hit areas, while the World Bank separately released US$400 million (Ђ333 million). The ADB package includes US$300 million (Ђ250 million) in grants for reconstruction of areas in northwestern Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir worst hit by the Oct. 8 quake, the bank said a statement.
The rest of the money must be repaid. The assistance includes a US$1 billion (Ђ833 million) pledge it made in November at a donors' conference in Islamabad.
The World Bank said the US$400 million (Ђ333 million) emergency recovery credit is part of US$1 billion (Ђ833 million) it promised for earthquake recovery.
"This credit will allow people to put their lives and homes back together," said John Wall, the World Bank representative for Pakistan.
The two institutions have estimated the overall cost from the quake at around US$5.2 billion (Ђ4.3 billion), including relief operations, livelihood support for victims and reconstruction. In November, donors promised to provide more than US$6 billion (Ђ5 billion) to Pakistan, more than what the impoverished Islamic nation was hoping to get for relief and reconstruction work in the country's north and Kashmir, where the 7.6-magnitude quake killed 87,000 people and destroyed the homes of 3.5 million others.
Most survivors are living in tents and damaged homes. Aid agencies say they are at risk because most of the tents are not adequate for the brutal Himalayan winter. Although light snow has already fallen in the quake-hit areas, the season's heavy rains and snow are expected to hit next week, according to Pakistan's meteorological department.
In Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, an army spokesman said troops were ferrying aid to survivors living on mountain tops and other areas despite cloudy weather. Maj. Farooq Nasir told The Associated Press that the army has replaced hundreds of ordinary tents with winterized ones in Muzaffarabad and its surrounding areas. This week, the United Nations said that it needs an additional US$45 million to provide survivors with thick blankets and shelter materials.
On Thursday, Sardar Sikandar Hayat, the top elected official in Kashmir, urged the world community to generously help Pakistan. "We are grateful to the international community for helping us, but we need a continued support for relief and reconstruction work," he said, reports the AP. I.L.
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