Pakistan — U.S. Continues to Rush Relief to Pakistan

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18, 2010 — As mon­soon rains con­tin­ue to fall on Pak­istan, the Unit­ed States is send­ing aid as fast as the flood-strick­en coun­try can absorb it, a Defense Depart­ment offi­cial said here today.

Unit­ed Nations offi­cials esti­mate that some 20 mil­lion Pak­ista­nis are affect­ed, with about 1,500 dead, as the Indus Riv­er and its trib­u­taries con­tin­ue to rise.

The Unit­ed States has pro­vid­ed more than $90 mil­lion in sup­port since the flood­ing began July 29, Pen­ta­gon spokesman Bryan Whit­man said. All relief aid is at the request of and through the Pak­istani gov­ern­ment, he added, as U.S. ser­vice­mem­bers in Pak­istan work to deliv­er aid under direc­tion of Pak­istani offi­cials at the Nat­ur­al Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Author­i­ty based in Rawalpin­di.

The Unit­ed States has fun­neled mon­ey to help via direct con­tri­bu­tions to the Pak­istani Nation­al Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Author­i­ty, the U.N. relief plan and many local and provin­cial relief orga­ni­za­tions. In addi­tion, about 150 sailors, Marines and air­men are fly­ing 15 heli­copters and three C-130s in the coun­try to deliv­er vital sup­plies.

U.S. air­craft have res­cued more than 5,500 peo­ple and deliv­ered more than 500,000 pounds of relief sup­plies. In the last 24 hours, 441,000 pack­aged meals that con­form with Islam­ic law have been deliv­ered to civil­ians, Whit­man said this morn­ing. “That in itself is [worth] about $3.7 mil­lion,” he added.

Many areas in the north­west­ern part of the nation have been cut off. The Unit­ed States is pro­vid­ing 12 tem­po­rary bridges to help Pak­istan con­nect with these iso­lat­ed areas. The Unit­ed States has also deliv­ered 1,870 rolls of plas­tic sheet­ing – enough to con­struct shel­ter for about 110,000 peo­ple, Whit­man said. Amer­i­can ser­vice­mem­bers have deliv­ered 14,000 blan­kets, 18 res­cue boats, six water fil­tra­tion units and 10 water stor­age blad­ders. They also deliv­ered 2,500-kilowatt gen­er­a­tors.

Whit­man said many U.S. ser­vice­mem­bers are con­tribut­ing to the relief effort out­side of Pak­istan. The crew of the USS Peleliu – off the coast of Pak­istan – is pro­vid­ing heli­copter main­te­nance sup­port. Ground crews in Afghanistan are work­ing to trans-ship the meals and oth­er sup­plies. U.S. Trans­porta­tion Com­mand plan­ners at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., are work­ing with offi­cials at U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand, the State Depart­ment and the U.S. Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment to pri­or­i­tize the sup­ply mis­sions.

“The Unit­ed States has a very robust relief mis­sion to Pak­istan,” Whit­man said.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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