News / Asia

Pentagon: US Ready to Do More on Flood Relief If Pakistan Asks

The senior officer supervising U.S. military flood relief efforts in Pakistan said the United States is prepared to do more to help reach people in need, if Pakistani officials in charge of the effort ask for more assistance.

U.S. Army Brigadier General Michael Nagata spoke to reporters at the Pentagon via satellite from Pakistan's Ghazi Air Base, about 50 kilometers north of the capital, Islamabad.  He called the damage in northern Pakistan "extensive" and "significant," and said it will take a long time and a lot of work for the region to recover.

"As the water has receded it has become clearer how much of the crop-producing fields, how much of the road infrastructure, how much of the bridge infrastructure, how many buildings have been either damaged or destroyed by the flood," said General Nagata.  "They're no longer masked by the significant spread of water that was once there."

General Nagata reports that American aircraft have delivered more than 450,000 kilograms of supplies and rescued more than 6,000 people from the flood waters.  He pointed up, though, there is much more to do.

View this related report on Pakistan floods by Ravi Khanna:

"We will operate wherever the Pakistani government and military authorities that asked us to come here designate for us," said General Nagata.  "They have right now designated the Swat River Valley and the adjacent province of Kohistan.  If they determine that there are other areas that they require our assistance in, we will of course attempt to meet those needs."

General Nagata referred questions about the possible expansion of U.S. aid to the U.S. embassy in Islamabad and the Pakistani government.  He said the American relief effort currently involves 15 helicopters, two fixed-wing aircraft and about 230 U.S. military personnel.  Officials said four more helicopters have been flown to Afghanistan aboard larger aircraft to be ready if needed in Pakistan.

In addition, a Navy-Marine force of three ships and 10 Marine Corps Osprey aircraft leaves the eastern United States on Friday, and is expected to arrive off the Pakistani coast in about a month to join the relief effort.  The new Ospreys can take-off and land like helicopters, but turn their rotors to fly like airplanes.  The Marine Corps commandant says an offer to send the Ospreys ahead on their own was turned down, partly due to a shortage of space at the Ghazi base.  A Corps spokesman said the Ospreys could still leave the ships and finish their journey by air at any time, if there is a need and if space is designated at a Pakistani air field.

General Nagata said U.S. and Pakistani forces are working closely together to deliver aid and rescue survivors.  "We have both some of their most experienced pilots flying with us, mostly because they understand these intricate valleys in the Swat River Valley complex better than we do, but we also have some of their own security guards on our aircraft providing our close in security."

The general declined to discuss what impact the flood has had on the expected expansion of the Pakistani military's campaign against insurgents in the north and west of the country.  But he said he does expect the effort to continue.

"Am I still confident the Pakistanis will continue to wage a dedicated, committed struggle against violent extremism in Pakistan?  Yes I am.  Do I believe they will continue to aggressively pursue violent extremists in this country?  Yes I do," said Nagata.

The general also declined to comment on any impact the flood may be having on the insurgents' status in Pakistan.  There have been reports of militant aid agencies benefiting from help provided in some areas, and of insurgent leaders engaging in a propaganda campaign criticizing the Pakistani government's response to the flood.

You May Like

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf 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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs