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Monday, 2005, October 10

In the drive to supplement the relief efforts in the quake-devastated areas of the countries various organisations in the public and privates sectors have offered aid and other services.
According to a press release, the Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Ismaili community and founder of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), in a letter to President Pervez Musharraf has assured the government of support for relief assistance for the earthquake victims, affected in all areas.

The Aga Khan also announced that the AKDN is making an initial contribution of Rs 30 million in support of the relief assistance being provided by the government which will be matched by Habib Bank Limited with a further Rs 30 million donation towards the President's Relief Fund.

Through FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance, the international emergency relief agency established by the Ismaili community as well other agencies, including the Aga Khan Health Services and the Aga Khan University Hospital, medical services, food, tents, other relief goods and humanitarian assistance, including personnel for search and rescue operations in the affected areas, have already been mobilised.

Moreover, AKDN's helicopters are also being put at the disposal of these humanitarian efforts, facilitated by the Pakistan Army.

Separately, Pakistan People's Party Chairperson Benazir Bhutto has announced Rs 5 million donation on behalf of the PPP for the earthquake-affected people.

A party statement said in Islamabad on Monday that under her direction, a PPP Relief Fund for quake victims has been established for the rehabilitation and relief of the quake victims.

An account in the name of PPP Relief Fund has been opened in the Al Falah Bank. Donations can be made into any branch of the Al Falah Bank in Pakistan in account 0035-01014063. Benazir has made an impassioned appeal to the people living in the country and abroad to donate generously into the PPP Relief Fund.

She also directed the PPP cadres to establish relief camps to collect goods, medicines and also donate blood for the earthquake victims.

Donations can also be made in the form of bank drafts and cheques payable to PPP Relief Fund and sent to Secretary General at the PPP Central Secretariat H-1, Street 85, G-6/4, Islamabad.

To enable emergency communication in far-flung areas in the wake of Saturday's massive earthquake, Telenor Pakistan has opened its network in advance in several of the most adversely affected cities, says a press release.

Telenor has made its services available in Mansehra and Abbottabad on an urgent basis. Telenor is also working to set up network access to Balakot, one of the towns hardest hit by the calamity. Telenor's spokesperson and Director Communication Syed Hasnat Masood said in a statement: 'Currently one of the foremost issues for rescue agencies in ensuring timely emergency response is the difficulty to communicate with these remote areas. We have rolled out access urgently in order to respond to this need.'

He assured that the Telenor network, being a thick network and having adequate capacity, will continue to work unimpaired. He also said that Telenor teams have established camps at the Margalla Towers emergency site, at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), and at the Islamabad Poly Clinic, offering free calls to the injured, their family members and emergency workers and asked people to make use of these services.

Similar set-up is being made available in Mansehra and Abbottabad to help rescue workers and affected families with their communication needs.

Meanwhile, a 58-member team of well trained volunteers of Sheikh Zahid Hospital, Lahore, left here for Mansehra district to carry out relief and rescue operations in the quake-hit areas. The team comprising nine doctors, 18 paramedical staff, 6-ambulances and 25 youth, carrying medicines, food items, tents and blankets will establish a base camp in Mansehra.

This was stated by Minster of State for Sports and Youth Affairs Muhammad Ali Durrani while talking to mediapersons at the Sports Complex here on Monday.

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