|The U.S. and many other countries are sending aid to Pakistan, and so are the major international organizations with experience in coordinating humanitarian relief and donations. |
Some of the areas hardest hit by the earthquake are high in the Himalayas -- difficult to reach, except by air. So many here need so much -- food, water, medicine, help to rescue the living and to bury the dead.
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan says he has instructed every United Nations agency to help.
"U.N. agencies UNICEF and UNHCR are offering stockpiles of emergency aid materials and World Health Organization is sending in medical teams with World Food Program airlifting high energy biscuits."
The World Bank immediately offered $20 million to the Pakistani government. World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz says international donors have gotten better at responding and at coordinating aid after a series of recent natural disasters.
"This tragedy, it's on an enormous scale and that's always a challenge,” said Mr. Wolfowitz. “But there's a great deal of experience that has been learned, can be learned from earthquakes in Turkey and Iran, the tsunami disaster of a year ago."
The European Union has committed $4 million and pledged even more. Despite the heartbreaking loss of life and utter devastation in Pakistan, the E.U. said it would have to budget its monetary aid.
E.U. Spokesman Amadeu Tardio said, "There are other humanitarian disasters currently in Guatemala, in El Salvador and Mexico, so we have to be aware that we must tackle several disasters at the same time."
Referring to both the deadly mudslides in Central America and the earthquake in Pakistan, the U.N. Secretary General appealed to donor nations to act quickly.
"Every hour counts and I urge the world to respond and to respond generously and willingly. This past week has been a bad one in terms of natural disasters," said Mr. Annan.