ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Thursday cancelled the military celebrations of August 14 and September 6 this year and said the savings will be utilised for flood relief activities.
A special Corps Commanders' Conference was held at General Headquarters to review flood situation in the Country and ongoing relief and rescue activities by the Army.
According to ISPR, Participants took comprehensive overview of the flood situation and ongoing relief and rescue operations by the Army.
The COAS directed the formations to continue reaching out to the marooned people and emphasised that the dearth of resources must be overcome through personal sacrifices and smart management.
He appreciated the efforts of all field formations and Army Aviation in-particular. He stated that Army will continue to work round the clock and at full capacity to assist the civil administration and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in providing relief to the affected countrymen.
US helicopters arrive for flood relief
Meanwhile, two US Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters arrived in Pakistan on Thursday as part of the continued US humanitarian assistance.
The two aircraft were the first of 19 helicopters urgently ordered to Pakistan yesterday by US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. The incoming aircrafts flew into Pakistan Thursday from aboard the USS Peleliu, which is positioned in international waters in the Arabian Sea.
The remaining aircraft will arrive over the next few days. The US helicopters will operate in partnership with the Pakistan military throughout the country's flood-affected areas.
"As we did during the tragedy of the 2005 earthquake, we continue to stand by the Pakistani people during this crisis," said US Central Command Commander Gen James N Mattis. "Pakistan is our friend and ally, and in their time of need, we are committed to partnering with their government and military to support their efforts to bring relief to the millions of Pakistanis impacted by these floods."
More aid needed
International Organisation for Migration (IOM) delivered a consignment of 17,000 blankets and 1,153 rolls of plastic sheet to the flood affected areas of Punjab and Sindh.
Shelter quality plastic sheet, which is in short supply in Pakistan, is desperately needed by an estimated 300,000 families whose homes have been damaged or destroyed by the floods.
The Multan hub will take deliveries of shelter and other relief goods shipped in by road and air and dispatch them to the worst flood-affected areas and it will join existing hubs in Islamabad and Peshawar.
An additional shelter hub will open in Sukkur in Sindh later this week.
IOM Islamabad also took delivery of 9,000 shelter kits comprising plastic sheet, poles and ropes donated by the UK Department of International Development (DFID). ]
IOM expects to take delivery and distribution of another 1,000 tents, 24,000 buckets and 48,600 blankets donated by DFID in the course of this week.
China may increase aid
China said it may increase its 10 million yuan ($1.5 million) flood relief assistance to Pakistan as the United Nations called for global donations of $460 million.
"China is willing to actively consider increasing assistance based on Pakistan's needs," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Jiang Yu said in a statement.
Last week, China flew in aid on military transports, including generators, medicine and water-purification equipment. The Chinese Red Cross has also given $50,000 in cash. The amount pledged so far by China is less than the $4.4 million it gave for Haiti's earthquake relief earlier this year, reported Bloomberg.
"In general, China tends not to be particularly generous with economic assistance," said Teresita Schaffer, director of the South Asia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington and a former top US diplomat for the region.
"Their involvement in Pakistan has been long on political support and visible assistance to a handful of very high profile projects carried out with Chinese labour, so the Pakistanis didn't even get any employment benefits out of it," Schaffer said.
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