Heavy monsoon rains triggered raging floodwaters in Northwest Pakistan, killing 1,500. The disaster has forced 2 million people to flee their homes. Thousands more in the region remain trapped by the floodwaters that ripped down bridges, washed away crops, and swallowed roads.
The government of Pakistan is leading a massive relief effort and has requested international assistance. The United States responded immediately and generously in a manner consistent with its humanitarian values and deep commitment to Pakistan.
The United States has made an initial pledge of 35 million $ for humanitarian assistance to meet pressing needs identified by Pakistan's National Disaster Relief Authority. More than 437,000 halal meals from U.S. stocks in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the region have been delivered to civilian and military officials in Pakistan. U.S. helicopters working under Squadron 50 of the Ministry of Interior since July 30 have rescued a total of 733 people and transported more than 5,300 kilograms [11,873 pounds] of provisions to flood victims.
In addition, 18 Zodiac inflatable rescue boats with power motors, and 4 water filtration units -- which provide pumping and purification of potable water for up to 10,000 persons daily -- 18 storage bladders for storing potable water, and 30 concrete cutting saws are being provided for use in the affected area. Moreover, 12 pre-fabricated steel bridges have been made available as temporary replacements for highway bridges damaged by flooding in Peshawar and Kurram Agency.
"The Pakistani people are friends and partners," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, "and the United States is standing with them as the tragic human toll mounts from flooding in Northwest Pakistan." The U.S. embassy in Islamabad is coordinating closely with Pakistani authorities to support rescue and relief efforts. The U.S. will work with the government of Pakistan to ensure aid reaches those people who need it most. "I have seen first-hand the strength and resilience of the Pakistani people," said Secretary Clinton, "and I know they will come through this tragedy with determination and compassion."