U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has issued an urgent appeal for more international assistance for earthquake-ravaged Pakistan. Mr. Annan warned of a second "massive wave of death" unless relief efforts are sharply increased.
The secretary-general said pledges of earthquake assistance from the international community have fallen far short of the U.N. appeal. The world body asked for $312 million when the quake hit October eighth. So far, only $84 million, or 27 percent, has been offered.
Mr. Annan predicted many more deaths if the world fails to respond adequately.
"And unlike some natural disasters, in which victims die immediately, the death toll in Pakistan is not over yet," Mr. Annan says. "An estimated three million men, women and children are homeless. Many of them have no blankets or tents to protect them against the merciless Himalayan winter. That means a second, massive wave of death will happen if we do not step up our efforts now.
Mr. Annan said the greatest need is for helicopters, trucks and heavy-lifting equipment.
The United States made $50 million in immediate aid available to Pakistan following the earthquake. In addition, 21 of the estimated 80 helicopters involved in the earthquake relief effort are U.S. military craft.
Secretary-General Annan says he has called an emergency donors conference next week in Geneva in an effort to generate further support to finance what he called an immediate and exceptional escalation of the global relief campaign.
He compared the 27 percent received so far to the tsunami appeal last December, which was 80 percents funded within 10 days of the disaster.