News / Asia

Kerry Sets Visit to Pakistan as US Boosts Flood Aid

TEXT SIZE - +

The State Department says Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry will visit Pakistan next week to survey damage from the country's flood disaster. Kerry is a key sponsor of the long-term U.S. civilian aid plan for Pakistan approved by Congress last year.

The United States has sent scores of civilian and military relief workers and experts to Pakistan, but Senator Kerry will be the highest-level U.S. political figure to visit since the flooding began last month.

Kerry was a co-sponsor of the five-year, $7.5-billion civilian aid program to Pakistan approved by Congress last year.

State Department officials say the Kerry visit is intended to help raise awareness of Pakistani relief needs among the U.S. public, and to discuss how the Kerry-Lugar-Berman aid plan might be recalibrated to deal with flood related needs.

The State Department said Thursday that the U.S. financial commitment to Pakistan flood relief has reached $76 million, and that discussions are underway on how the Kerry-Lugar-Berman program might help in Pakistan's long-term flood recovery.

At a news briefing, the U.S. Agency for International Development's acting disaster-assistance director Mark Ward said the world community's commitment to Pakistan must remain long after the flood waters recede.

"The United States will," said Mark Ward. "And you can get that we will use all of our resources to keep the other nations behind us. The Kerry-Lugar-Berman funding is robust, and the people in the field who are deciding how to spend that money are re-thinking their plans because of the flood. Almost everything they were planning to do in terms of you know, better energy, better water, better infrastructure, has been impacted by the floods."

U.S. officials are pressing for more flood relief contributions from American corporations and private citizens.

The State Department's Deputy Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Dan Feldman said sudden natural disasters, such as the 2004 East Asian tsunami and Pakistan's 2005 earthquake generated far more early contributions.

Feldman said the poor global economic picture and so-called donor fatigue after this year's Haiti earthquake are problems, but said the fund-raising for Pakistan flood relief should increase as the dimensions of the damage and losses become clearer.

"The story, as a story, is very different. It is incremental in nature," said Dan Feldman. "And it takes quite a while for people to focus in on it and see what the implications are, especially - as we keep noting - the ramifications may well be medium-term and longer term in nature as well as more immediate."

The first two of 19 U.S. military helicopters ordered to Pakistan this week by Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived at an air base near Islamabad Thursday.

They will replace six U.S. helicopters and crews diverted to Pakistan from Afghanistan duty several days ago, and which are credited with helping rescue more than 3,000 people.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid