Pakistan — U.S. Military in Afghanistan Responds to Pakistan Floods

KABUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 3, 2010 — The U.S. mil­i­tary in Afghanistan is respond­ing rapid­ly to the dis­as­trous flood­ing that report­ed­ly killed more than 1,200 peo­ple in Pak­istan and 60 in Afghanistan and has affect­ed mil­lions of oth­ers.

U.S. forces have deliv­ered more than 189,000 pack­aged meals that con­form with Islam­ic law and are prepar­ing to deliv­er more than 200,000 more meals in the next 24 hours, offi­cials said.

In addi­tion, U.S. mil­i­tary experts in med­i­cine, logis­tics, avi­a­tion, engi­neer­ing and oth­er fields are on the ground in Pak­istan, and more are on the way to assist the Pak­istani gov­ern­ment.

“U.S. Forces Afghanistan [is] active­ly engaged with our Pak­istan friends and part­ners in the coor­di­na­tion and deliv­ery of human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance dur­ing this crit­i­cal time,” said Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, com­man­der of inter­na­tion­al and U.S. forces in Afghanistan. “It is vital­ly impor­tant we try to help those who have been trag­i­cal­ly affect­ed by the mas­sive flood­ing.

“There are some tasks that the U.S. mil­i­tary is unique­ly able to per­form,” Petraeus con­tin­ued. “We are in the process of per­form­ing some of those tasks, and we’re deploy­ing addi­tion­al ele­ments to per­form more of them. We will con­tin­ue to sup­port this human­i­tar­i­an effort, and we stand by to assist the Pak­istani gov­ern­ment any way we can.”

A group of six CH-47 Chi­nook and UH-60 Black Hawk heli­copters with about 100 U.S. mil­i­tary per­son­nel from the 101st Air­borne Divi­sion in Afghanistan is expect­ed to depart tomor­row for Ghazi Air Base, which is serv­ing as the main logis­tics hub in Pak­istan for the human­i­tar­i­an response.

In an effort to pro­vide U.S. and Pak­istan com­man­ders with real-time video sur­veil­lance over dis­as­ter-strick­en areas, the U.S. mil­i­tary also is sup­ply­ing intel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance and recon­nais­sance air­craft.

The air­craft and per­son­nel from Afghanistan will serve as an ear­ly response sup­port ele­ment to Pak­istan relief efforts as U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand pre­pares to deploy more per­son­nel, avi­a­tion assets and equip­ment from out­side Afghanistan.

U.S. heli­copters work­ing under Squadron 50 of the Afghan inte­ri­or min­istry since July 30 have res­cued 733 peo­ple and trans­port­ed 11,873 pounds of pro­vi­sions to flood vic­tims. Four Zodi­ac inflat­able res­cue boats with pow­er motors and two water fil­tra­tion units are at work in the affect­ed area, and 12 pre-fab­ri­cat­ed steel bridges have been made avail­able as tem­po­rary replace­ments for high­way bridges dam­aged by flood­ing.

The flood­ing, which began June 29, result­ed from a mon­soon rain­fall. It has washed away more than 100 bridges and sig­nif­i­cant stretch­es of road, and is report­ed to have iso­lat­ed more than 600,000 peo­ple between upper Swat and Kalam in north­ern Pak­istan.

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

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