10/09/2005

BBC NEWS | UK | UK quake help 'will keep rising'

The UK has so far committed more than £500,000 in relief funds to earthquake-hit Pakistan, with a "lot more" to come, said Hilary Benn.

The international development secretary said the initial spending had included chartering a plane for rescue teams and helping pay for medical kits.

UK rescue workers have been helping search for survivors of the disaster thought to have killed at least 19,000.

The Queen and Tony Blair have sent messages of support and sympathy.

Mr Blair said the number of people in Britain with roots in the affected region made the tragedy "even harder to bear".

Helicopter plea

The 7.6-magnitude quake hit Pakistan, Afghanistan and northern India at about 0850 local time (0450 BST) on Saturday, wiping out several villages in Kashmir and injuring more than 42,000 people.

Two aid flights have left the UK and the government has pledged funds as they are needed, plus medics, staff and aid workers.

Mr Benn said stocks of blankets and tents and sleeping mats were ready to go and would be passed on once the authorities there had determined where they would be needed.

BBC NEWS | UK | UK quake help 'will keep rising'

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