01 November 2005
Thousands of Pakistani volunteers rushed to towns and villages to help in the relief effort as they wait for further Pakistani government help and international assistance. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)Rawalpindi, Pakistan:
Pakistan's President General Pervez Musharraf on Monday announced the launch of a national volunteer movement designed to help speed up earthquake relief activities.
Addressing a news conference in Rawalpindi, some 30 kilometers south of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, Musharraf said that the membership of the national volunteers movement will be open to any person of over 18 years of age especially the youth, doctors and civil engineers.
He hoped that the youth would come forward and participate in the volunteer movement.
On the country's reconstruction and rehabilitation, the Pakistani president said that the priorities of reconstruction would be schools, colleges, hospitals and government offices and those of rehabilitation would be women, orphans and handicapped persons caused by the Oct. 8 earthquake.
Musharraf said that the shortage of tents was the key issue and the government had mobilized all the resources for this purpose.
He expressed the confidence that the Government would meet the massive challenge of relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation of earthquake affectees with a well thought out strategy and concerted efforts.
He said that 228,000 tents had already been supplied and by the end of November, 500,000 tents would be delivered to the affected people which would almost meet requirements of the affected families.
Talking about relief goods, Musharraf said that enough stock of goods was available in Islamabad and forward bases.
He said that relief supplies had reached to over 95 percent of the affected people and there might be five percent areas where the agencies might had not reached. The government has sent an additional brigade of army to reach this five percent area, he added.
He said that he would further elaborate a medium and long-term long term strategy for rehabilitation and reconstruction of the quake-ravaged areas at the international donors conference scheduled in Islamabad on Nov. 19, which will be attended by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and many other world leaders. The president of the World Bank and heads of many other financial organizations will also attend the conference, he added.