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Annan Says More Help Needed for Pakistan's Earthquake Victims

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is appealing for more international support for Pakistan, which is still struggling to meet the needs of those who survived last month's deadly earthquake in Kashmir. Mr. Annan is in Pakistan for a conference on Saturday bringing together major international aid donors.

The United Nations Secretary-General met with reporters minutes after he arrived here Thursday, to spread the word that Pakistan's earthquake victims desperately need more help.

"We have received some response but we need much, much more. We need more resources not just for emergency relief but for recovery and reconstruction," he said.

Mr. Annan is scheduled to tour the quake-affected areas Friday, and he will visit one of the sprawling camps where victims of the October 8 earthquake are sheltering.

Saturday, Mr. Annan will join other international delegates for a key donors' conference in Islamabad.

The earthquake killed more than 73,000 people and destroyed the homes of over three million others. That vast number of homeless has spurred Pakistan's campaign for significantly more funding, for reconstruction projects that can move people out of camps and back to their own communities.

The United Nations says Pakistan needs more than $5 billion for relief and reconstruction programs in the quake zone. Only $2 billion has been offered so far, most of it tagged specifically for short-term emergency relief.

President Pervez Musharraf has praised the international community's initial emergency response to the disastrous earthquake. But he says funding for redevelopment projects has been negligible.

Pakistan's government says it has received less than $300 million in pledges of international aid for redevelopment.

Mr. Musharraf says he is confident that Saturday's donor conference will help generate more funding, but he also warns against unreasonable expectations.

"We should not expect that everyone is carrying checkbooks and we are going to have exactly $5.2 billion. That's not going to happen," said Mr. Musharraf. "This is an ongoing process which may continue for a year or two years."

The United Nations says thousands of people who survived the earthquake itself could die in the coming weeks, as winter arrives and temperatures plunge.

Relief workers say snow is already beginning to fall in some of the higher camps, and time is running out for emergency relief programs.