U.S. Military Relief Effort in Pakistan to End This Spring
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2006 The U.S. military's earthquake relief mission in Pakistan is slated to conclude this spring, a senior Defense Department official said here today.
U.S. Marines hook up a sling load of food supplies to an Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter at Chatter Plain, Pakistan, Jan. 18 to aid those still affected by a major earthquake last fall. Photo by Tech Sgt. Joseph McLean, USAF
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
"I suspect that towards the end of March or the beginning of April -- somewhere in that timeframe or so -- we will have transitioned all of our personnel from Pakistan," DoD spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters at the Pentagon.
An earthquake pegged at the 7.6 magnitude struck the Kashmir region in northern Pakistan on Oct. 8, 2005, killing more than 70,000 citizens, injuring more than 60,000 and leaving more than 3 million homeless.
Whitman said U.S. Central Command has led a 63-nation relief effort in Pakistan since Oct. 10, 2005, which includes food, medical care, transportation and other types of post-disaster support.
More than 1,200 U.S. military members and 25 helicopters had been deployed to Pakistan at the peak of the relief mission, Whitman said.
About 650 U.S. service members in Pakistan continue to provide aviation, medical and engineering assistance in earthquake-affected areas, he said. And 12 U.S. CH-47 Chinook cargo helicopters continue to fly disaster relief missions in Pakistan.
To date, U.S. military aviators have flown more than 4,000 missions, delivered more than 11,000 tons of supplies, and transported more than 18,000 people as part of earthquake relief operations in Pakistan, Whitman said.
The U.S. also is donating about $6 million worth of medical, engineering and refueling equipment to the Pakistani government, Whitman said.
That assistance includes more than $3 million worth of medical equipment that's been used in the relief effort, he said, to include a mobile surgical hospital, anesthesia apparatus, ventilators and X-ray equipment.
For now, "the operation will continue to phase out in a measured way," Whitman said.