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EU, UK offer emergency aid to quake affected
October 08, 2005 20:00 IST
Last Updated: October 08, 2005 20:27 IST
The United Kingdom and the European Union on Saturday offered emergency aid to help victims of the earthquake which hit India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, killing several people.
Emergency workers in the United Kingdom are on standby to fly to the south Asian sub-continent.
As casualty figures rose from the devastating quake the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, said up to three million Euros could be approved within a day if requested by agencies working on the ground.
"We are all hoping that the news does not get steadily worse as the day progresses but we are fearful that the casualty figures may mount and that international support may be needed," EU aid commissioner Louis Michel said in Brussels.
A spokesman said the commission's Humanitarian Aid department was in touch with two organizations -- Medecins Sans Frontieres, Netherlands and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) -- about the crisis.
"It depends on what these organizations tell us they need," said spokesman Amadeu Altafaj, stressing that the two organizations were chosen because they are already on the ground.
"They can save more lives and faster. This is the priority of course," he said.
A spokesman for the UK Department for International Development said in London: "At this stage, we are still gathering information.
"UK search and rescue teams have been put on standby. We are just waiting to get a better assessment and sort our response," he said.
"The International Rescue Corps has put a team on standby to assist in the search and rescue efforts following the earthquake in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan today. The corps will continue to monitor the situation," the World Health Organisation said in a statement.
Complete Coverage: Quake rocks north India, Pakistan
The charity Oxfam is currently beginning an assessment in the affected region, and is to meet other aid agencies and the United Nations later in the day to co-ordinate a response.
Jane Cocking, Oxfam's earthquake response co-ordinator said, "Oxfam's humanitarian response co-ordinator is now in Pakistan and is on his way to Islamabad to carry out an initial assessment.
"Oxfam's aid workers in Islamabad report some damage in the centre of Islamabad but there are fears that more remote areas outside of the city will have been more seriously affected.
"As well as rescuing those trapped by the earthquake, the top priorities will be ensuring the survivors have emergency shelter, food supplies, drinking water and basic sanitation, all of which will have been affected by the earthquake," he