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Indian Plane Carrying Aid Lands In Pakistan

Earthquake damage in Islamabad (file photo) 12 October 2005 -- The first Indian plane carrying relief supplies for the survivors of a devastating earthquake on 8 October has arrived in Pakistan.

An Indian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said the plane landed before dawn at a military airbase in Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, speaking at a news conference in Islamabad on 11 October, welcomed aid from India.

"Pakistan has no problem accepting assistance from India subject to our needs," Aziz said. "And we have also -- when there was an earthquake in Ahmedabad [in India] -- Pakistan sent a lot of relief and equipment and India was kind enough to accept it. I think in this moment of difficulty we have to share with each other."

The 7.6-magnitude earthquake on 8 October was the strongest to hit the region in a century. The official death toll in Pakistan stands at 23,000 dead and more than 50,000 people wounded. More than 1,500 people have been reported killed on the Indian side of the Line of Control dividing the disputed state of Kashmir.

Reports say that four days after the quake hit the region, millions remain in desperate need of basics such as water, food, and shelter.

Pledges of aid and relief worth hundreds of millions of dollars have been pouring in from around the world. On 11 October, the United States appealed for $272 million for emergency relief supplies.


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