Ex-Taoiseach bound for earthquake disaster zone

Former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds is to be sent as a Government envoy to a major summit in Pakistan on last month’s earthquake, it was announced today.

The high-level South Asia Earthquake Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Conference will be hosted by the Pakistani government in Islamabad on Saturday.

“Mr Reynolds will receive briefings from the Pakistani government, Development Co-operation Ireland’s on-site technical team and other agencies involved in the relief effort,” a statement from Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said today.

“He will report back to the Government on his findings, particularly on the nature of the requirements for continuing relief and construction.”

Mr Reynolds succeeded Charles Haughey as Taoiseach and led a coalition government with Labour between 1992-1994.

The October 8 quake, which measured 7.6 on the Richter Scale, has killed more than 73,000 people in Pakistan, most of them in Pakistani Kashmir.

About three million people are still in need of emergency humanitarian assistance before the harsh winter sets in.

Ireland has already pledged €6m to the relief effort, making it one of the highest per capita donors.

“The disaster in Pakistan is logistically one of the toughest challenges ever faced by the UN and international community,” Mr Ahern’s statement said.

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