US to send additional 18 helicopters for Pak flood relief

Washington, Aug 29 (ANI): The United States would be sending 18 more helicopters for relief and evacuation work in flood-hit Pakistan, the Pentagon has said.

The US Department of Defence said the additional contingent of choppers would include 10 CH-47 Chinook and eight UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters by the middle of next month.

"The unit will operate in partnership with the Pakistani military throughout flood-impacted areas," The Dawn quoted a statement from The Pentagon, as saying.

There are already 15 US military helicopters and three C-130 aircraft supporting relief efforts in Pakistan.

According to an estimate, US choppers have transported over two million pounds of humanitarian assistance supplies and rescued more than 7,000 people in the flood-hit country.

Earlier, President Obama's Special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke said the United States continue supporting Pakistan amid the massive floods that have inundated nearly one-fifth of the country.

Holbrooke said some amount of the 1.5 billion dollar Kerry Lugar aid to Islamabad has been diverted towards emergency flood relief.

He added that Washington is aware about the devastation caused by the catastrophic floods, and is considering establishing Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZ), similar to ones announced for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), to rebuild the flood-affected areas.

"The only objective of Washington was to help the people of Pakistan in the moment of extreme need," Holbrooke said.

The US has responded to the crisis with a pledge of over 90 million dollars, however, donations from other countries have been slow due to fears of the money being redirected by corrupt Pakistani officials.

The death toll in the floods has reached over 1,700 people. The deluge has been stamped as one of Pakistan's worst natural disasters causing heavy damage to the country's infrastructure. (ANI)

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