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U.S. Aids Earthquake Victims

The United States is providing immediate relief for Pakistan’s earthquake victims, and will help to meet the country’s long-term reconstruction needs. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice talked about the U.S. relief effort during a visit to the Pakistani capital, Islamabad:

“The United States will want to support, along with the international community, the people of Pakistan as they try to rebuild. And I just want the people of Pakistan to know that our thoughts are with you, that we will be with you in your hour of need. We will be with you not just today, but also tomorrow.”

The earthquake was felt across South Asia, from central Afghanistan to western Bangladesh. The epicenter of the earthquake was in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir in the Himalayan foothills. So far, Pakistani officials estimate the number of dead at thirty-thousand and the number of injured at forty-five-thousand. Nearly three million people have been left homeless. Doctors are warning of potential disease outbreaks if relief does not arrive in a timely manner.

The United States is providing cash and logistical support in the form of helicopters, airborne reconnaissance, heavy-lift ground equipment, and medical aid. It has already delivered hundreds of tons of relief supplies with military and chartered civilian aircraft flights.

Secretary of State Rice said that the U.S. and Pakistani militaries are cooperating to help the victims stranded in the remote mountainous region made nearly inaccessible by the earthquake. Muslim communities and nongovernmental organizations in the United States are leading collection drives to aid victims of the earthquake.

Ms. Rice said that the fifty million dollars the United States made available in immediate aid was merely an initial emergency response, and that more aid would be forthcoming. “I am quite certain," she said, "that as the needs emerge, the United States is going to need to do more. I will go and have discussions with the Pakistanis about what other kinds of assistance is going to be needed.”

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.