WASHINGTON — The United States is continuing to aid flood victims in Pakistan while working with the Pakistani government to see if additional U.S. military support is required, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said yesterday.
U.S. officials also are looking into the need to begin posturing forces to help, Morrell said.
The floods in the northwestern part of the nation have killed more than 1,500 people so far, he said. The floods, caused by heavy monsoon rains, have affected an estimated 1.5 million people, and the rain continues in the region.
Six U.S. helicopters – including four Army CH-47 Chinooks and two Army UH-60 Black Hawks — are in Pakistan supporting relief operations, Morrell said. As of today, the aircraft have flown 18 sorties, he said, and evacuated about 800 people from flood-affected areas. They also have transported 66,000 pounds of relief supplies, he added, and, as of yesterday, delivered nearly 440,000packaged meals that conform with Muslim law.
Meanwhile, the Defense Department is ensuring it strikes a balance between the needs of Pakistan and operations in Afghanistan. The U.S. assets that have been deployed there have been taken from Afghanistan, Morrell explained.
“We can do that for some period of time, but ultimately they are required in the theater of combat,” he said. However, the United States will go to “extraordinary measures” to help the flood victims, he added.
“We are looking at how to … meet the demand in Pakistan without adversely impacting operations in Afghanistan,” he said. “We will find a way if we are needed to balance both needs.”
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)