Washington, D.C., May 20, 2009 – Pakistanis calling in to the Voice of America's (VOA) Deewa Radio today from camps in the country's war-torn northwest praised the United States for providing aid and urged transparency in its distribution.
Callers to Deewa's news and current affairs show said they were grateful for the U.S. decision, announced by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday, to give Pakistan $110 million in assistance, including food, tents, water and radios. They said the aid must be channeled to the most deserving people in an open manner.
Lt. Gen. Nadeem Ahmad, who is heading Pakistan's relief effort, called the U.S. relief "significant." And Iftikhar Hussain, information minister for Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) said in an interview with Deewa that he hoped other countries will follow the U.S. lead by giving assistance.
U.N. officials say more than 1.1 million people have been displaced in the northwest since Pakistan's military launched an offensive against Taliban militants in the region. Many people are living in Internally Displaced People’s (IDP) camps where sanitation is poor.
Deewa, which broadcasts in the Pashto language, can be heard on shortwave, FM and the Internet (www.VOANews.com/Deewa) throughout the affected region. With 20 stringers in the Pashto-speaking part of Pakistan and 15 staff members here, Deewa broadcasts six hours daily of original programs that feature news, current affairs and call-in shows.
Started in September 2006, Deewa regularly engages with young people, women and artists in the region. It also airs shows on Muslims in America, youth, health, culture and literature.
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. Government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 134 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.
For more information, call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail email@example.com.