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UN Seeks More Funds For Pakistani Quake Victims

Earthquake damage in Islamabad (file photo) (AFP) 26 October 2005 -- The United Nations has raised its appeal for emergency relief for Pakistani earthquake victims to $550 million ahead of a high-level donor conference.

UN humanitarian coordinator's office (OCHA) spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs told RFE/RL today that the organization needs more resources as the scope of the challenges becomes apparent.

"We initially asked for $312 million, but it has quickly become evident that this disaster is much larger than we first assumed," Byrs said. "The requirement now has increased and we ask now for $550 million to meet the needs of the survivors of the earthquake."

The request will be made to donor nations at a meeting later today in Geneva to discuss how to help the quake victims. Officials from some 65 countries are expected to attend.

The earthquake killed more than 53,000 people, and there have been fresh warnings that many more people could die unless countries come up with more money fast. An estimated 3 million people have been left homeless.