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France Donates to UNICEF

© UNICEF/Zaidi/FFM_001
Foreign Minister of France, Philippe Douste-Blazy with UNICEF Rep. in Pakistan, Omar A. Abdi

Islamabad, November 20, 2005 - While addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Mr. Philippe Douste-Blazy, Foreign Minister of France stated, "France will continue its assistance to Pakistan in relief and rehabilitation efforts to help quake survivors." The Foreign Minister praised the efforts of UNICEF, WFP and ICRC for being the frontrunners in relief efforts, and his words were borne out by the announcement of the magnanimous proportion of the donation that the French nation, government and private sector, are making to relief after the October 8 disaster.

A total gift of 6.5 million euros was announced. Of this, 2.5 million euros is for UNICEF, 2 million euros for ICRC and a further 2 million for WFP. In addition, vaccine totalling 2 million doses of anti-tetanus and 1 million doses of anti-measles have also been provided by the French company Sanofi Pasteur. The donation to UNICEF makes France the agency's biggest donor to date, (in response to UNICEF's US $92.6 component in the Flash Appeal issued immediately after the earthquake struck.)

During the press conference the Foreign Minister described how his country has been willing to demonbstrate solidarity with Pakistan from the very first hours after the disaster. In the urgency of this situation relief is channelled directly to improving the living conditions of affected people and, so that this can be continued and increased, he added that France had pledged financial assistance of US $124 million at the recently concluded Donors' Conference in Islamabad.

Prior to the press conference, the Foreign Minister visited the wards at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Children’s Hospital. As a medical doctor himself, he indicated his special interest by enquiring about health of numerous children being treated at PIMS and praised the courage of young survivors, especially those with serious injuries who have undergone complicated surgery.

Earlier in the day, the French FM toured the quake-hit town of Muzaffarabad in Pakistan adminsitered Kashmir, in order to gain an idea of devastation caused by the earthquake.



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