The United Nations has launched a $300 million plan to assist the millions of people left homeless in northern Pakistan by last October's devastating earthquake.

The U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Pakistan, Jan Vandemoortele, says the one-year program will provide education, safe water, food, seeds, fertilizer and other essential items needed by hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis returning home after winter.

Vandemoortele said the plan's overall goal is to make sure there is no gap between the end of relief and the beginning of full fledged reconstruction.

Funding will be provided by earlier pledges from the international community.  The program was put together by the United Nations, the Pakistani government and voluntary organizations. 

At least 73,000 people died and about three million people were left homeless as a result of the quake that hit Pakistani Kashmir and North West Frontier province.

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