Airmen Deliver Flood Relief to Pakistan
By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Drew Nystrom
455th Air Expeditionary Wing
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, Aug. 3, 2010 An Air Force C-130H Hercules crew delivered relief supplies to Islamabad, Pakistan, July 31 in response to catastrophic monsoon flooding.
Air Force Senior Airman Jose Cornejo hands boxes of meals to Pakistanis in Peshawar, Pakistan, Aug. 1, 2010. Air Force crews flew thousands of meals to Pakistan as part of a humanitarian relief mission to help flood victims. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Boitz
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The first flight, flown by 455th Air Expeditionary Wing airmen, delivered nearly 8,000 packaged meals prepared according to Islamic laws.
A follow-on C-17 Globemaster III flight, flown by airmen from the 385th Air Expeditionary Group, delivered more than 44,000 of the meals Aug. 1.
Hassan Zulfiqar, director of Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority met the aircraft as they delivered the supplies.
"Monsoon rains have caused a lot of flooding," Zulfiqar said. "Almost 1 million people have been affected, and thousands of people are marooned in flooded areas. They need immediate assistance, especially food and medicines."
Pakistani relief efforts have been going on since the floods hit, but the C-130H flight was the first international assistance to make it on the ground.
"As far as foreign assistance is concerned, this is the first flight," Zulfiqar said. "The Pakistani government has already started relief efforts and has begun to distribute relief items from our warehouses to the affected people.
"The U.S. relief supplies are going to help a great deal," he continued. "We hope this assistance provided by the U.S. will be a sustained effort in the days to come, and hopefully it will not be the last relief consignments. I think it's going to be a great help."
The mission was a complete success, said Air Force Capt. Robert Dodson of the Illinois Air National Guard, the C-130H aircraft commander.
"We had a quick response from the time we were notified to the time the pallets were on the airplane," the captain said. "The whole reason why we're here is to help others when we can, and the whole crew is happy to do it."
The U.S. government will continue to send assistance for flood relief efforts in the country, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Anne W. Patterson said.
In addition to the more than 50,000 meals, U.S. officials are also responding to Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority's specific request for:
-- Four Zodiac inflatable rescue boats, designed and built for lightness and speed on rapidly flowing waters;
-- Two water filtration units, each of which can fulfill the daily water pumping, purification, storage and distribution requirements of up to 10,000 people; and
-- Twelve prefabricated steel bridges that can temporarily replace highway bridges damaged by flooding.