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US Begins Increased Aid to Pakistan

  • Ira Mellman

The arrival of a US Navy ship off the coast of Pakistan has signaled increased aid to the flood ravaged country.

One of the first two US military helicopters took off from the deck of the Navy amphibious assault ship Peleliu in the Arabian Sea Thursday, the first of the 19 to arrive to help with flood relief efforts.

Captain David Schnell, the commanding officer of the Peleliu, said "We're mainly using our heavy lift helicopters, our CH 53s and MH 53s. We sent two of those helicopters into Ghazi this morning. Tomorrow morning I'll be sending another five of those helicopters. We'll also be using our medium lift helicopters, our CH 46 to ferry disaster relief supplies into Karachi."

Captain Schnell said the delivery of the supplies to those in need will be a joint effort with Pakistan. "The Pakistan government has asked us to assist the Pakistan military. So we are working hand in hand with the Pakistan military to distribute these relief supplies to the towns, the villages that need the help," he said.

US defense secretary Robert Gates ordered the 19 helicopters to Pakistan Wednesday. The US embassy in Islamabad says the US military has helped rescue more than 3,000 people and transported 146,000 kilograms of emergency supplies since August 5.