UK donors last night pledged millions of pounds towards easing the plight of survivors of the massive South Asian earthquake.
The scale of the disaster has prompted a huge relief operation. Appeals to fund efforts have already been launched by the British Red Cross, Oxfam, UNICEF and Muslim Aid in the wake of the disaster, with Oxfam reporting it had garnered about £50,000 within the first hour alone.
Pakistan's President, General Pervez Musharraf, described the earthquake as "the worst disaster in Pakistan's history". He appealed to the international community for help, and also issued an appeal to Pakistanis living in the UK and elsewhere to come forward and help their countrymen.
He said: "We do seek international assistance. We have enough manpower, but we need financial support."
The Muslim Council of Britain estimated more than £3 million would be collected from mosques across the country last night as communities prayed during Ramadan.
Sir Iqbal Sacranie, secretary general of the MCB, said: " All the major mosques in the country have launched appeal.
"We have been hearing hundreds and hundreds of families in the UK have found out their close relatives, their dear ones, children of relatives, who have suffered from the tragedy ... so it is not people in another part of the world. They are their own ones who are suffering. It is much closer to home. My estimate today was by this evening we would be getting across the mosques of the country really in excess of £3 million, but it will go higher."
London- based relief agency Muslim Aid announced it had increased its donation for relief efforts in Pakistan and Kashmir to £250,000, and a three- hour TV fund-raising marathon is expected to generate thousands more.
Plan, the international development agency for children, released £113,636 and medical supplies, while Christian Aid has given an initial £50,000.
The British Red Cross has promised £250,000, Christian Aid pledged an initial £50,000 and Coca-Cola is donating two million US dollars and drinking water.