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UN Refugee Agency Chief Visits Quake-Stricken Pakistan

The head of the United Nations refugee agency says relief efforts in earthquake-ravaged Pakistan should concentrate now on creating conditions for people to be able to withstand the harsh Himalayan winter.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres made the remark Thursday during his visit to Pakistan's quake zone. The visit is aimed at reviewing relief operations and meeting with local leaders. He said billions of dollars in aid pledges by donors must materialize before cold and hunger claim more lives.

While touring the devastated capital of Pakistani Kashmir, Muzaffarabad, Mr. Guterres also noted the time has come to repay the country for generously hosting millions of Afghan refugees.

His visit comes a day after Australian Prime Minister John Howard toured quake-hit areas and pledged nearly U.S. $37 miillion in additional relief.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.