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UN Spl envoy Bush discusses Pak quake aid with officials

Written by: Staff

United Nations, Mar 25: The UN Special Envoy for the South Asia earthquake, former US President George H W Bush, met UN officials on the launch of the recovery phase in areas of Pakistan devastated by the October disaster last year.

''They also highlighted the importance of ensuring continued support and funding during this critical transition period, in order to build upon the success of the relief phase,'' a UN spokesman said of the meeting, which included Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland and Administrator Kemal Dervis of the UN Development Programme.

Earlier this month, UN humanitarian officials said the recovery stage is expected to cover a year beginning next month and has been prepared in close collaboration with Pakistani military and civilian authorities.

The quake on October 8 killed more than 73,000 people in Pakistan and 1,300 in India. About 70,000 Pakistanis were injured and millions were rendered homeless.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Mr Bush as his envoy on the quake in late December. As the UN envoy, Mr Bush has represented Mr Annan and the UN system leading the organisation's efforts and sustaining international political will to support rehabilitation processes.

Mr Annan said at the time, ''I'm delighted that President Bush has accepted to play this role. I know the Pakistan authorities are, too. We know that he is going to bring extraordinary leadership and attention to this terrible tragedy.'' The former American President expressed pleasure over his appointment.

''I look forward to serving in the capacity of UN Special Envoy, for I, like so many others around the globe, have been deeply affected by the suffering of the victims of this awful earthquake.

This is disaster of enormous proportions and the recovery is going to be a long and difficult task,'' he said.


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