Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Natural disaster politics IV - material but not engineers, aid and other problems

Glitches galore as fine words founder on the hard ground of disputed territory. Now India offers material, but dismisses the probability of its engineers going over to the other side as 'romanticism'. In a way this is understandable from the perspective of both countries - some of the key infrastructure that has been destroyed on the LoC has been in the nature of military structures, bunkers, etc., which India can hardly assist Pakistan with rebuilding.

Three of the five proposed points on the LoC for relief centres have been agreed upon, but the expectation is that people who need assistance will come to those centres to get treated. The problem, as the Pakistani Director-General of Military Operations pointed out, was that as communications infrastructure was devastated, not many people can come to the relief centres. To which Pranab Mukherjee's reaction is: 'So let us see'.

An earlier report says that the proposal to open meeting points at the LoC was agreed upon in principle in April, several months before the earthquake. They were intended to allow divided families to cross the LoC at designated points to meet their relatives.

Meanwhile, Oxfam reports that promised state aid is grossly inadequate. The UN appeal for $312 million is more than two-thirds away from its target.

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