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24. 08. 10. - 15:00

Government to support Pakistan with 5.6mn

The Austrian government has revealed plans to provide more than five million Euros for flood-stricken Pakistan.

Social Democratic (SP) Chancellor Werner Faymann announced after todays (Tues) council of ministers meeting that the coalition had decided to contribute 5.6 million Euros to the international disaster fund. Faymann stressed that the government was ready to contribute more at some later stage if necessary.

The chancellor said 600,000 Euros of the 5.6 million Euro support package had already been transferred.

Peoples Party (VP) Finance Minister Josef Prll has meanwhile thanked Austrians for their generous support of victims of the unprecedented flooding in the Asian country.

Prll stressed that willingness to donate money for Pakistan would confirm that Austrians wanted to help regardless of whether fellow Austrians were affected.

The SP-VPs decision to contribute 5.6 million Euros comes days after VP Environment Minister Nikolaus Berlakovich was confronted with harsh criticism for providing just 200,000 Euros of immediate aid.

Max Santner, head of the international aid department of the Austrian Red Cross (RK), labelled the decision as "disgraceful" and "miserable".

Austria one of the 10 richest countries in the world has previously been criticised for cutting back investments in poor countries.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) announced earlier this year that Austrian spending for international development projects had shrunk from 1.26 billion Euros in 2008 to 841 million Euros last year.

OECD said that amount accounted for just 0.3 per cent of Austrias gross domestic product (GDP) after having amounted to 0.43 per cent of it in 2008. Several other Eurozone countries states that have the Euro as their currency had also reduced their contributions, OECD announced.

The European Union (EU) made 0.51 per cent of GDP the goal for its 27 member states this year.

Austrias 8.5 million citizens have meanwhile been praised for donating more than 32 million Euros to charities and NGOs active in Haiti after the devastating January 2010 earthquake.

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Visit the following homepages to find information about how to donate to Austrian organisations active in the flooded parts of Pakistan:

www.roteskreuz.at

www.aerzte-ohne-grenzen.at

www.caritas.at

www.care.at

Related articles: political scandals

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