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U.S. joins Pakistan relief efforts

The U.S. government is mounting a significant response to the devastating floods in Pakistan, which have ravaged the rural Swat area and caused the worst flooding damage in 80 years. The Obama administration pledged $10 million dollars in humanitarian assistance for Pakistan’s own relief efforts and, as of Monday morning, 10 separate supply flights have ...

Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

The U.S. government is mounting a significant response to the devastating floods in Pakistan, which have ravaged the rural Swat area and caused the worst flooding damage in 80 years.

The Obama administration pledged $10 million dollars in humanitarian assistance for Pakistan's own relief efforts and, as of Monday morning, 10 separate supply flights have flown 189,072 halal meals from U.S. stocks to Pakistan and another 51,840 meals are on the way today.

Gen. Duncan McNabb, the head of U.S. transportation command, arrived in Islamabad Monday on a prescheduled visit and his plane brought 12,288 more Halal meals. Seven U.S. helicopters are aiding in the relief effort and have delivered more than 11,000 pounds of supplies and rescued at least 733 people, according to U.S. officials.

The U.S. government is mounting a significant response to the devastating floods in Pakistan, which have ravaged the rural Swat area and caused the worst flooding damage in 80 years.

The Obama administration pledged $10 million dollars in humanitarian assistance for Pakistan’s own relief efforts and, as of Monday morning, 10 separate supply flights have flown 189,072 halal meals from U.S. stocks to Pakistan and another 51,840 meals are on the way today.

Gen. Duncan McNabb, the head of U.S. transportation command, arrived in Islamabad Monday on a prescheduled visit and his plane brought 12,288 more Halal meals. Seven U.S. helicopters are aiding in the relief effort and have delivered more than 11,000 pounds of supplies and rescued at least 733 people, according to U.S. officials.

On the rivers, the U.S. has deployed four Zodiac inflatable rescue boats that can provide water for about 10,000 people and seven prefabricated steel bridges to replace bridges that have been washed away.

According to the State Department’s figures, by Monday morning there were 500,600 displaced persons in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPk) province and another 200,000 near Mianwali, Punjab. The KPk provincial government estimates that some 800 people have died in the floods, with another 358 injured and 129 lost or missing.

The World Food Program has sent out an emergency relief call for $30 million and the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is also raising money to help flood victims. (You can donate $10 by texting SWAT to 50555. The money will go directly to Pakistani flood relief.)

"Every $10 helps provide tents and emergency aid to displaced families. When prompted, reply with YES to confirm your gift," a UNHCR press release said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Sunday that the United States is working closely with the Pakistani government on relief efforts and that the U.S. would ensure that donated money reached those in greatest need.

"The Pakistani people are friends and partners, and the United States is standing with them as the tragic human toll mounts from flooding in northwest Pakistan. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have lost loved ones or have been displaced from their homes — and we are taking action to help," she said.

Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at josh.rogin@foreignpolicy.com.

Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.

A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.

Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin

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