Four US Marine Corps CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters arrived in Pakistan on Monday and US Air Force C-130 cargo aircraft began transporting international aid within Pakistan in support of flood relief, says the US embassy in Islamabad.
The four helicopters are part of the contingent of 19 helicopters ordered to Pakistan last week by US Defence Secretary Robert Gates. They bring to 11 the total number of US military aircraft in Pakistan, while seven US civilian aircraft are also taking part in the relief operation.
Two US Air Force C-130 aircraft from the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing in Afghanistan flew into the Chaklala airbase in Rawalpindi on Monday morning in response to a Pakistani government request to pick up and transport international relief supplies stored there for delivery to the flood-hit areas. These flights are scheduled to continue on a daily basis to assist with getting out urgently needed relief supplies. An estimated 52,000 pounds of relief supplies were delivered on Monday to Sukkur for distribution by Pakistani civil and military authorities.
To date, the US has pledged to provide approximately $76 million in assistance to the flood- affected populations in Pakistan. Support includes both financial assistance and immediate provision of urgently needed supplies and services, drawing on unique US capabilities and resources.
US military helicopters have rescued 3,555 people and transported 436,340 pounds of emergency relief supplies in spite of bad weather. In addition, within 36 hours of the initial flooding on July 29, the US began
delivering thousands of halal meals to Pakistan from US stocks in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the region. In all, 436,944 halal meals “ready to eat” were provided.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2010.