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U.S. Relief Continues in Pakistan

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17, 2010 – U.S. military forces rescued 375 displaced Pakistanis yesterday, Pentagon officials said today, continuing their humanitarian assistance in wake of the monsoon floods that have isolated much of the Swat Valley and Peshawar regions in northwestern Pakistan.

Today, U.S. military aviation assets and personnel rescued 800 more people, bringing the total of flood victims rescued to 4,403. flood victims and transported more than 540,000 pounds of food and relief supplies, officials said..

“Everything that we’re doing is at the request of the Pakistani government,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said. “So everything that we’re providing, where we’re taking it to, who we’re delivering it to, … anything we’re providing is specifically at the request of the Pakistani government.”

The Defense Department has spent about $300,000 a day on flight operations. The total operational cost so far is around $2.5 million, Whitman said, noting that number is only a “small part of the federal government expenditure.”

The State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, as well as the United Nations, are actively engaged in relief efforts there, he explained.

“The president has obviously committed a robust government effort here, and that translates into helicopters for [the military], rescue operations, as well as flying in humanitarian relief supplies,” Whitman said.

U.S. aviation assets include 11 helicopters and three cargo planes, he said. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates last week ordered a contingent of 19 U.S. helicopters to Pakistan. Whitman could not say when the remaining helicopters would arrive.

More U.S. military support may be needed, Whitman said.

“I don’t believe we’ve gotten to the point where we can estimate the totality of the support that’s needed,” he said. “It’s obviously a very devastating flood. The U.N., as well as Pakistani authorities, have called in a broad international assistance.

“It doesn’t look like the situation is getting any better,” he continued. “It’s a dire situation, and just by the number of rescues the U.S. military has done with the limited aviation assets on the ground with 11 helicopters, you can see people’s lives are being saved every day by having some of these capabilities there.”

Whitman said the Pentagon is addressing the situation “one day at a time.”

“It’s a dynamic situation with respect to the support being provided to Pakistan,” Whitman said. “The U.S. is a good ally and friend to Pakistan and wants to be supportive, and that’s why we have the resources we do there.”

 

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Related Sites:
Special Report: U.S. Provides Support During Pakistan Flooding
DVIDS Video: Latest Video of Pakistan Floods


Comments

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The opinions expressed in the following comments do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Defense.

8/18/2010 1:11:59 AM
I as a Pakistani having been in the Canadian Forces at early age and having Canada as my home am grateful .It is truly great to witness open heart and the good that can be done and hearts won rather then mass labeling by media of people. As Mr Whitman says we are addressing the situation one day at a time or one step at a time Much of the people in Pakistan are uneducated and poor will turn their views when they truly see how open people and their hearts are around the world towards them makes a big difference and change rather then being viewed as sitting targets on the map.We appreciate what the troops are doing with the helicopters and reading this article on your site.please forgive any typos I was not born a journalist Thanks and God Bless
- Naeem, Canada

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