Tuesday, August 03, 2010

U.S. Military in Afghanistan Responds to Pakistan Floods

From a U.S. Forces Afghanistan News Release

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.

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