Agnes van Ardenne to visit Pakistan earthquake zone

from Government of the Netherlands
Published on 08 Dec 2005
On 9 and 10 December, Minister for Development Cooperation Agnes van Ardenne will visit areas of Pakistan hit by the October earthquake. She will be accompanied by Conor Lenihan, the Irish Minister of State for Development Cooperation and Human Rights. The two European ministers are visiting Pakistan to witness the emergency aid operation still being conducted at full capacity.

Ms Van Ardenne's hosts will include the field hospital in Bagh, where Dutch military personnel are treating 100 to 150 patients every day. In Balakot, she will visit a school where children are again being taught, partly thanks to Dutch assistance. The earthquake destroyed or dismantled 8,000 publicly funded schools. Some 890,000 children will now receive schooling via emergency education programmes. Ms Van Ardenne will end her tour of Pakistan by visiting a camp accommodating 9,500 refugees five kilometers outside Islamabad. Médecins du Monde has built a health centre in the camp with money from the Dutch development budget.

As well as visiting areas hit by the earthquake, Ms Van Ardenne will meet General Muhammad Zubair, who is directing reconstruction in the earthquake zone. She will also meet representatives of UNICEF and UN OCHA. On Saturday, she will take part in a round-table discussion with enterprises and civil society organisations involved in the emergency aid effort.

To assist Pakistan, the Netherlands has released €28 million, 10 million of which is earmarked for schooling for the child victims of the earthquake. The other €18 million will be spent on the urban search and rescue team, the military field hospital, food aid, transport, tents, blankets, other medical care, and the coordination of aid via UN bodies and other aid organisations working in the earthquake zone.

For more information and interview requests:

Marie-Christine Lanser-Reusken, press secretary to the Minister for Development Cooperation Information and Communication Department (DVL). Tel.: +31 70 348 4167