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 One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs