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Foreign reconstruction aid totally inadequate: Musharraf

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October 21, 2005 19:52 IST

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf [Images] has said the amount of foreign reconstruction aid pledged after the October 8 earthquake was "totally inadequate" and the country needed about $5 billion to rebuild areas devastated in the quake.

About $620 million had been promised, but Pakistan needed about $5 billion to rebuild devastated areas, Musharraf told BBC in an interview.

Expressing confidence that all areas hit by the earthquake would be reached by relief teams before winter, Musharraf, however, said that there was still an urgent need for more tents and tarpaulins to help the survivors.

He said it was likely that Pakistan would need to build five lakh new homes, while terming the amount of foreign reconstruction aid pledged after the quake as "totally inadequate".

Defending the country's army in the face of criticism of its response to the crisis, Musharraf said the army had managed to get aid through, despite working in very difficult conditions.

"The whole nation is helping and the army is helping, and I think we are feeling very happy with ourselves for having reacted in such a positive manner as a nation, army included," Musharraf was quoted as saying.

The United Nations has also appealed for urgent help to avoid a second wave of deaths over the fierce Himalayan winter and called for a massive airlift of those without shelter, on the scale of the Berlin airlift in the 1940s.

Pakistan has said that over 51,300 people have been killed and 74,500 injured in the quake.

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