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Troops Rescue Afghan Civilians Trapped by Floodwaters

American Forces Press Service

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, June 24, 2005 – The Afghan National Army and local government officials coordinated efforts with coalition forces to rescue 119 Afghans stranded on a small island by floodwaters June 23.

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A coalition helicopter lifted the stranded individuals to safety as waters rose on the Indus River near Mehtar Lam, in the Logman province. A dam upstream gave way, sending water downstream and trapping the group.

Afghan National Army soldiers coordinated loading the aircraft and then dispensed aid supplies to the victims at a safer area approximately 300 meters away.

The Logman province deputy governor, working in conjunction with aid agencies, coordinated the rescue effort with coalition forces. Aid agencies are working with local officials in the area to ensure that Afghans displaced by the flooding have access to shelter, medical attention and food.

"This is a perfect example of the Afghan government taking the lead, working with Afghan National Army and coalition forces to save lives," said Army Lt. Col. Jerry O'Hara, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force 76. "We are continuing to work with the government of Afghanistan to ensure the people displaced by this tragic disaster receive the aid they need."

A provincial reconstruction team at Mehtar Lam is working closely with aid agencies and local Afghan leaders to assist in relief efforts, officials said.

(Courtesy of Combined Forces Command Afghanistan.)

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Combined Forces Command Afghanistan

Click photo for screen-resolution imageAn Afghan National Army soldier rushes children to a waiting helicopter June 23. More than 119 people were stranded by the rising floodwaters of the Indus River in Laghman province. Government agencies, Afghan National Army and coalition forces and aid agencies coordinated their efforts for the rescue operation when a dam broke. Photo by Staff Sgt. Ken Denny, USA  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageThe deputy governor of Laghman province (center), working with Afghan National Army and coalition forces and aid agencies, helps stranded Afghans to a waiting helicopter. The people were stranded on a small island by the flooding of the Indus River on June 23. Photo by Staff Sgt. Ken Denny, USA  
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