US Marine helicopters join Pakistan flood relief

Two US Marine helicopters arrived in Pakistan on Thursday to join relief and rescue operations in areas hit by massive floods in the country`s worst catastrophe, the US embassy said.

Updated: Aug 12, 2010, 20:32 PM IST

Islamabad: Two US Marine helicopters arrived
in Pakistan on Thursday to join relief and rescue operations in
areas hit by massive floods in the country`s worst
catastrophe, the US embassy said.

The two aircraft are the first of 19 extra helicopters
that US Defence Secretary Robert Gates urgently ordered to
Pakistan yesterday, it said.
The CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters flew into Pakistan
from the USS Peleliu, which is positioned in international
waters in the Arabian Sea.

The remaining aircraft will arrive over the next few days
and will include three US Navy MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopters,
four US Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters and 12
US Marine Corps CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters.

US military helicopters will operate in partnership with
the Pakistan military throughout the country`s flood-affected
areas.

The 19 aircraft will relieve six US Army helicopters
already in Pakistan that will soon return to duty in
Afghanistan, the embassy said.
Despite bad weather, the six helicopters have rescued
more than 3,089 people and transported more than 322,340
pounds of emergency relief supplies, it said.

Pakistan`s government says more than 14 million people
face direct or indirect harm from the floods. The United
Nations believes 1,600 people have died in the floods, while
Pakistan has confirmed 1,243 deaths.

PTI