Islamabad (AP) - Islamabad has accepted $5 million in aid for flood victims from India, a rare expression of goodwill between the feuding neighbors at a time when Pakistan is reeling from one of its worst ever natural disasters.
The floods have affected 20 million people and about one-fifth of Pakistan's territory, straining its civilian government as it also struggles against al-Qaida and Taliban violence. The United Nations has appealed for $460 million in emergency assistance.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told Indian NDTV television station that the government had accepted the money. Such is the difficult relationship the two nations have, it took several days for Islamabad to reach this decision.
"It is highly appreciated in Pakistan and we have recognized it," he said in New York.
India's foreign office Friday welcomed the decision to accept the aid, Press Trust of India reported, adding the government was willing to provide more assistance.
India also provided aid to Pakistan after the 2006 Kashmir earthquake that killed more than 70,000 people.
The floods began July 29 in the northwest of the country after exceptionally heavy monsoon rains and have since swamped thousands of towns and villages in Punjab and Sindh provinces. While rainfall has lessened, flooding is continuing in parts of Sindh province as water from the north courses down the Indus and other rivers.
Local aid groups, the Pakistani and U.S. armies and international aid agencies have helped hundreds of thousands of people with food, shelter, water and medical care, but the distribution has been chaotic and has not come close to reaching everyone.
Islamabad has accepted $5 million in aid for flood victims from India, a rare expression of goodwill between the feuding neighbors.