| GEO Pakistan|
US to boost Pakistan flood aid to $150 mn
| Updated at: 0104 PST, Friday, August 20, 2010|
WASHINGTON: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday that US aid is swelling to 150 million dollars for Pakistan and called for a halt to extremist attacks during the flood crisis as an "expression of common humanity."
Clinton told a Pakistani television station that she would announce the expansion, from the current 90 million in US aid, at a crisis UN meeting Thursday aimed at mobilizing international support which to date has fallen far short of the country's humanitarian needs.
"I want to see more, and today at the United Nations I will be announcing more US assistance," the top American diplomat told media, in a transcript provided by the State Department.
When asked if the new aid total would be 150 million dollars, she said: "Yes. And I will also be announcing a way for individual Americans to contribute; a fund that I'm setting up here in the State Department."
The State Department has said US flood aid was being distributed through the Pakistani authorities or relief organizations on the ground to "provide critical supplies to flood affected populations."
It also said 18 US military and civilian military aircraft stationed in Pakistan and three in Afghanistan have been deployed in support of relief and rescue operations.
The United Nations estimated 4.6 million people are still without shelter after Pakistan's devastating floods, tripling its target number for assistance as it prepared to drum up more aid.
The UN has described Pakistan's worst humanitarian crisis as one of the world's biggest disasters, but while foreign aid is now reaching some of the 20 million flood victims, critics have slammed the response as too slow.
Pakistan has also warned that extremists may seek to exploit the disastrous conditions as the Pakistani military diverts resources to help battle the floods.
Clinton stressed that it would be a common-sense "expression of common humanity for the terrorists to cease their terrible attacks" in the midst of one of the worst disasters in Pakistani history.
"Why are the terrorists targeting for assassination and bombing Pakistanis at a moment of great natural distress?" she asked on a television channel.
"Have they no shame? Have they no conscience? While the people of Pakistan are literally fighting for their lives against the effects of this flood, the terrorists seem not to care."