South Asia

 
Published: Saturday 30 April 2005

Delayed aid: Sri Lanka's tsunami reconstruction work has been delayed by three months due to non-payment of foreign aid. The government announced on February 7, 2005 that donors had finally approved the payment US $1.5 billion aid for and "its from now the construction phase begins". But this happened only after it went public with the complaint that the reconstruction was getting delayed because the foreign aid pledged by donors wasn't materialising. This was contrary to the general impression that aid wasn't a problem for the country (see Down To Earth, 'Mission Impossible', February 15, 2005). The government plans to finance the US $1.8 billion reconstruction work fully through donor aid and concessional loans. By early March, it had got less than US $100 million.

Not skin-deep: Several cases of the skin disease "Urticaria" have recently been reported from many areas of Pakistan's Karachi city. The patients are from all age groups. The disease is marked by an initial eruption of rashes, which turn into itchy boils and cover the entire body. Pollution is believed to be a major cause. Reaction of many vaccines and antibiotics and insect bites may also cause Urticaria. The condition of many patients turned serious due to delay in treatment.

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