2 more US helicopters arrive in Pak to join flood relief

Islamabad: Two US Marine helicopters arrived in Pakistan today to join relief and rescue operations in areas hit by massive floods, the US embassy said.

The two helicopters are part of the contingent of 19 helicopters urgently ordered to Pakistan on Wednesday by US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates.

The incoming aircraft flew into Pakistan today from aboard the USS Peleliu, which is positioned in international waters in the Arabian Sea.

They will join the four US Marine Corps CH-53E helicopters and one other MH-53E helicopters which arrived earlier this week at Ghazi Air Base, bringing to seven the total number of aircraft in Pakistan from the USS Peleliu.

The remaining aircraft will arrive over the next few days and will include 12 US Marine Corps CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters.

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

Since August 5, the US military helicopters have rescued more than 3,500 people and transported more than 412,000 lbs. of emergency relief supplies in spite of bad weather.

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.