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NATO to Send Engineers, Medical Teams to Quake-Stricken Pakistan


NATO has decided to send 1,000 troops, several helicopters and hundreds of military engineers to earthquake-hit Pakistan, as well as medical units to set up a field hospital.

The move follows an appeal to NATO by the top United Nations relief coordinator, Jan Egeland, to think "big and bold" in its response to the massive relief effort in Pakistani Kashmir. He said the world is not doing what it can to save lives.

The alliance says it will deploy engineers and medics from the elite NATO Response Force to clear roads blocked by the October 8 earthquake and subsequent mudslides, and to set up field hospitals.

NATO has acknowledged that it is short of the light helicopters urgently sought by Pakistan to reach remote areas. Up to two million Pakistanis remain out in the open without any shelter.

Washington is expected to have 40 helicopters on the ground in coming weeks.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf says the death toll will go beyond 50,000. Officials say some 74,000 people have been injured and that some cases of tetanus have been reported, creating the need for vaccination on a large scale.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Friday visited the quake-stricken region. He pledged $150 million, as well as help in reconstruction.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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