The Cable

The Cable goes inside the foreign policy machine, from Foggy Bottom to Turtle Bay, the White House to Embassy Row.

U.S. envoy to Pakistan: We’re beating the extremists on flood relief

U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson updated reporters Friday on U.S. relief efforts in Pakistan, which is currently besieged by heavy flooding. Patterson said that this year’s floods were the worst in 80 years and given the scale of flooding across the country, could be even more catastrophic than the 2005 earthquake in Kashmir. Flooding ...

566240_100806_1019553502.jpg
566240_100806_1019553502.jpg

U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson updated reporters Friday on U.S. relief efforts in Pakistan, which is currently besieged by heavy flooding.

Patterson said that this year's floods were the worst in 80 years and given the scale of flooding across the country, could be even more catastrophic than the 2005 earthquake in Kashmir. Flooding has now killed more than 1,600 people and affected about 12 million people, mainly in the country's northwestern regions.

U.S. efforts have been significant, including assistance from the armed forces in rescuing stranded civilians and airlifting supplies, including 436,000 halal meals, prefabricated steel bridges, and water-purification systems delivered over the past week. On Friday, most operations were hindered by additional bad weather. The U.S. Agency for International Development has committed $35 million for food, health care, and shelter for those displaced, supplementing existing programs for Pakistanis displaced by fighting in the Swat Valley.

U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson updated reporters Friday on U.S. relief efforts in Pakistan, which is currently besieged by heavy flooding.

Patterson said that this year’s floods were the worst in 80 years and given the scale of flooding across the country, could be even more catastrophic than the 2005 earthquake in Kashmir. Flooding has now killed more than 1,600 people and affected about 12 million people, mainly in the country’s northwestern regions.

U.S. efforts have been significant, including assistance from the armed forces in rescuing stranded civilians and airlifting supplies, including 436,000 halal meals, prefabricated steel bridges, and water-purification systems delivered over the past week. On Friday, most operations were hindered by additional bad weather. The U.S. Agency for International Development has committed $35 million for food, health care, and shelter for those displaced, supplementing existing programs for Pakistanis displaced by fighting in the Swat Valley.

With Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari embarked on a much-criticized trip to Europe, Patterson insisted that she was “not really concentrating on the overall political situation” in Pakistan and instead focusing on “saving lives and delivering supplies.” The U.S., she said, has a lot of experience working with disaster authorities in Pakistan and she has, thus far, been “very satisfied working with the government.” She noted that the U.S. efforts are entirely in response to specific Pakistani requests.

Asked about reports that NGOs associated with extremist groups are seeking to capitalize on the floods by providing relief services, Patterson said those efforts are “totally overcome” by the work done by “highly reputable” international and local NGOs, including the Pakistan Red Crescent Society. “We’re trying to get [these NGOs] money as quickly as possible,” she said.

Suzanne Merkelson is an editorial assistant at Foreign Policy.

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.