Italy sends humanitarian aid for Pakistan's IDPs

Nov 30, -0001
CHAKLALA AIRBASE: A plane load of relief goods for Pakistan's displaced people sent by the government of Italy arrived at Chaklala airbase near Islamabad on Saturday (May 23).

Pakistan's military launched an offensive this month in the Swat Valley and neighbouring districts to stop the spread of a Taliban insurgency that had raised fears for nuclear-armed Pakistan's future.

The offensive has displaced nearly 1.7 million people from Swat, the United Nations said.

They are joining about 555,000 displaced by earlier fighting in the northwest.

"Now is the moment of need, so we thought to send an airplane, and its the first help that we are sending," Italian ambassador to Pakistan, Vincenzo Prati, told reporters.

The relief goods are worth 360,000 euros, the Italian government said.

Stefano Taliani, head of Italy's Development Cooperation Department of Emergency, said Italy wants to "confirm its strong commitment in helping the Pakistani people to overcome such difficulties."

"We bring in the plane, humanitarian goods like tents, 160 tents, 10 diesel generators, one unit of water purification, plastic rolls, soaps, one prefab warehouse and also other items like kitchen sets for families of the IDPs (internally displaced persons)," Taliani said.

The United Nations on Friday (May 22) launched an appeal for 543 million U.S. dollars to help those affected by the fighting.

On Thursday, Pakistan's allies promised 224 million U.S. dollars, including 110 million U.S. dollars from the United States, 42.45 million U.S. dollars from Japan, 18.54 million U.S. dollars from Britain, 17.67 million U.S. dollars from Germany, 16.32 million U.S. dollars from France, 9.52 million U.S. dollars from the European Commission, 4.31 million U.S. dollars from Canada and 2.75 million U.S. dollars from Norway, state media reported.

The Pakistani government aims to provide an initial 8 billion rupees (99 million U.S. dollars) for relief as well as 25,000 rupees (310 U.S. dollars) directly to every displaced family. AGENCIES






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