$9 million Australian food aid for Pakistan

June 6th, 2008 - 4:59 pm ICT by IANS  

By Neena Bhandari
Sydney, June 6 (IANS) Australia will provide A$9 million (US$8.6 million) to Pakistan in urgent food aid for areas close to the Afghanistan border, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith has said. Australia has already committed A$30 million (US$ 29 million) to the United Nations World Food Programme.

In addition, Smith told the Australian Broadcasting Corp late Thursday night: “We’re providing an extra $9 million (US$8.6 million) to Pakistan for areas close to the Afghanistan border, $8 million (US$ 7.7 million) for Zimbabwe, and $2 million (US$ 1.9 million) for North Korea.”

Australia’s aid to Pakistan will also go towards improving access to basic health and education services for one million Pakistanis, primarily to improve the nutrition and health of children, pregnant and lactating women, and also increase children’s access to education through on-site nutrition at schools, including the provision of take home rations for girls and boys attending primary school.

The funds will be targeted at the poorest and most marginalised populations living along the border with Afghanistan in Balochistan and in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

In 2007-08, Australia will provide Pakistan an estimated A$25 million in development assistance. This would include building agricultural linkages between the two countries and providing scholarships at Australian institutions.

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