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Europe

EU, Germany Offer Aid to Pakistan After Earthquake

The International community has rallied round Pakistan with promises of cash aid and humanitarian help after an earthquake killed at least 160 people and left thousands homeless in the south-west of the country.

Official at National Seismic Monitoring Center Peshawar, Pakistan, monitors the aftershock recorded at Richter Scale on Wednesday

The death toll in Wednesday's earthquake is expected to rise

According to officials in Pakistan, a strong earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale rattled the province of Balochistan on Wednesday, Oct. 29, destroying scores of homes.

In Berlin, the Foreign Ministry said 250,000 euros ($315,000) would be available to relief organizations to supply tents, blankets and food to the devastated area.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who had visited Pakistan on Tuesday for political talks, sent a message to his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, voicing condolences to the victims.

The European Union also promised humanitarian help.

"I was shocked to hear the news about the earthquake which struck south-western Balochistan earlier today," EU external affairs commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said in a statement. "The EU stands ready to assist Pakistan with humanitarian assistance if requested."

At the request of third countries, the EU executive provides emergency aid, food and help to refugees and displaced people who fall victim of natural disasters or armed conflict through its humanitarian aid department, known as ECHO.

ECHO's annual grants total more than 700 million euros.

Localized situation

Family members bring a boy injured by the earthquake, at a local hospital in Quetta, Pakistan

Thousands have lost their homes

Meanwhile, Pakistan said it does not intend to seek international help in the wake of the disaster.

"According to initial information the situation is localized so far. We can deal with it," Farooq Ahmed Khan, chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority, told reporters in Islamabad.

"If someone wants to provide assistance, it would be most welcome," he said. "But we do not want to make an appeal at the international level."

Khan said the government has initially established two tent villages in Ziarat, the worst affected district, for 2,000 to 2,500 people estimated to have lost their homes.

Eight villages, mostly consisting of mud houses, were hit by the tremor with a magnitude of 6.4 on the Richter scale.

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