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Germany

Germany to Pledge More Aid for Quake Victims

Germany wants to dramatically raise its financial aid in a bid to help overwhelmed emergency services and exhausted funding operations in the quake devastated areas of Pakistan and India.

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Millions of homeless people in the stricken areas are still in danger

German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul told the Berliner Zeitung on Thursday that Germany aimed to increase its aid.

"Our emergency aid has been completely exhausted. I have applied to the federal minister of finance for an extension of five million euros ($6 million)." Germany has promised a total of 20 million euros and has so far contributed 20 percent of the EU’s 13.6 million euros of aid.

Wieczorek-Zeul also called on the German public to give more in donations for the earthquake victims. "It may not be that those people who survived have to die as a result of the disaster." Huge donations from the German public to the Tsunami stricken areas in South Asia at the start of the year helped to prevent the outbreak of epidemics and saved survivors of the actual event from becoming victims of its aftermath.

UN conference leads to increased international aid

Meanwhile, the international community raised its initial pledge of aid to $580 million after the United Nations donors' conference in Geneva on Wednesday. The increased aid came after UN Secretary General Kofi Annan made a dramatic appeal for more support. It was the international community's responsibility, he told the representatives of 65 countries gathered in the Swiss city, to prevent "the second shockwave of dead people."

Between two and three million survivors are in increasing danger after the massive earthquake and subsequent aftershocks two and half weeks ago, which destroyed villages and towns in the seismic zone, as the harsh Kashmiri winter begins to set in. An estimated 55,000 people have already died.

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