Ambassador Holbrooke's Visit Reaffirms U.S. Commitment to Pakistan Flood Relief

Posted by Courtney Beale
September 22, 2010
Ambassador Holbrooke With Flood Survivors in Pakistan

About the Author: Courtney Beale serves as Assistant Information Officer at U.S. Embassy Islamabad.

While the American news media has turned to mid-term elections and football season, Pakistan continues to flood. It is natural for coverage to fade after a natural disaster is over. However, in Pakistan, heavy rains continue. While water is receding in some areas, it is arriving in new ones every day. The floods are now moving down the Indus River to southern Pakistan. To put this in an American context, an area the size of Maine all the way to Florida has been affected. Six weeks in, the magnitude of the disaster and the enormous rebuilding effort ahead still merits front page attention. At the State Department, the long-term effort to help Pakistan with flood relief and early recovery began immediately and will continue long-term. The U.S. government has now donated $345 million, making it the largest single donor to the flood relief efforts. American military helicopters have recued 15,000 people and delivered more than seven million pounds of relief supplies.

Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Richard Holbrooke visited Pakistan from September 14-18 to survey flood-affected areas and review U.S. humanitarian assistance. Ambassador Holbrooke visited camps in Thatta, one of the worst affected districts in Pakistan. The sea was on high tide when flooded river water reached it multiplying the damage. By August 28, 175,000 people had left their homes, camping on the main road under open sky, surrounded by the suffering flood affectees and their last remaining livestock. Now the Makli tombs -- a revered archeological site -- are surrounded by flood affectees; it is on higher ground, so the people have fled there.

Describing the magnitude of the disaster, Ambassador Holbrooke emphasized that "In the over 40 years that I have visited refugee camps, I have never seen so many refugees outside the camps along the dykes, along the roads, not wanting to be separated from their land even though their land is under water, in such difficult conditions."

Ambassador Holbrooke then traveled to Multan, one of the oldest cities in southern punjab, where the waters have started to recede. There he joined Foreign Minister Qureshi, and met with dozens of local humanitarian groups working tirelessly on immediate relief efforts.

Ambassador Holbrooke also made it a priority to engage with both local and international press to explain how U.S. efforts are supporting the Pakistan government's plans for recovery and long-term reconstruction. In press conferences, radio interviews, meetings with news editors, and press roundtables, Holbrooke explained where the money was going and underscored "the U.S. government is doing this because it is the right thing to do. We do it because we care about the Pakistani people. It is a humanitarian action linking the people of our country with the people of Pakistan."

During Holbrooke's visit to Pakistan, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Resolution 1613 expressing solidarity with Pakistan and confirming the "commitment of the people of the United States to partner with the people of Pakistan to respond to the immediate crisis and build the foundations for a successful and lasting recovery."

On September 19, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at the UN High-Level Ministerial Meeting on the Flood Emergency in Pakistan in support of the UN's largest-ever natural disaster appeal for $2 billion. The United States will continue to support Pakistan as it weathers the worst storms in its history. As Secretary Clinton said at the UN, "As the waters recede, the people of Pakistan must know that they will not be alone. They can count on my country and on the international community to stand with them."Learn more about flood relief efforts and how you can help: www.state.gov/pakistanflooding.

Comments

Comments

DrG
|
West Virginia, USA
September 23, 2010

Dr. G. in West Virginia writes:

The US is the world leader in humanitarian aid.

OysterCracker
|
United States
September 24, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

Charge the banksters on their bankster-to bankster money transactions and you'd get enough money to alleviate the world's flooding problem and simultaneously put millions to work. It would solve Obama's fiduciary crisis too.

OysterCracker
|
United States
September 24, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

Aid to the corrupt government of Pakistan should be in the form of supplies and expertise with very little aid money changing hands. Help them build a foundry to manufacture water pipe. Train their pipe layers, help them obtain reduced cost steel, concrete but everything should be done on a shoestring to eliminate graft and corruption on both sides.

esther
|
United States
October 4, 2010

Esther in the U.S.A. writes:

Please,please,if the world including U.S.A REALLY WANT TO HELP THE PEOPLE GENUINLY in trouble in Pakistan due to floods-- help the victims with supplies,solid items-- no cash should be involved.by sending cash you doing extreme injustice to the victims, who will get only a fraction of the money.

Fazal G.
|
Pakistan
October 10, 2010

Fazal G. in Pakistan writes:

Americans are the blessing of GOD to Pakistan ,,, very supportive and very humble ,,,, US policies is not enemy for us but we are always against them which is not approciate for those people who are helping us in every mode of life ,,,,,, Long Live America

GOD Bless America

FARHAN A.
|
Pakistan
October 10, 2010

Farhan A. in Pakistan writes:

I heartily Thank American Government for being supportive and helping all the time.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
October 11, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Fazal G,

You know how blessings work...what comes around goes around?

Eventually Pakistan will be whole, at peace and free to be able to help others in need.

Syed A.
|
Pakistan
October 18, 2010

Syed A.A. in Pakistan writes:

US Support to the people of Pakistan in this hard time is really marvellous. Salute you Guyz !
But the problem is that the aid provided by US Govt is not actually going in the right hands no one is there to check on where the money goes !!!! US Govt should made a commission of peoples in which they should carry out audit of the aid !!!!

Muhammad I.
|
Pakistan
October 20, 2010

Muhammad I. in Pakistan writes:

Well, no doubt Americans have done much more than any other. It has lifted their image in the minds of Pakistanis. However, the drone attacks spoil the whole effort. whatever USA earn from public service activities, the drone attacks spoil it. Re-consider the policy. I had risen this question during Holbrook's news conference in Multan.

Atif
|
Pakistan
October 25, 2010

Atif in Pakistan writes:

Giving relief and helping hand after hitting Pakistani people is old strategy of Us Government.
Most of the problems facing by Pakistan and Pakistani nation are due to USA and Jewish lobby who is using USA as his front base.
There are some solid clues regarding Pakistan Flood that it is also activity of USA through HARP system.

Zanobia A.
|
Pakistan
October 29, 2010

Zanobia A. in Pakistan writes:

I am happy that USA is moving on the right track this time, seemingly sincere, having put in lot of efforts to help Pakistan. We should appreciate their efforts and cooperate

M. A.
|
Pakistan
November 9, 2010

M.S.Z.A. in Pakistan writes:

SUBJECT: VIEWS OF PRESIDENT OBAMA ABOUT PAKISTAN IN HIS ADDRESS TO THE STUDENTS IN INDIA ON 07-11-2010

Excellency!

President Barrak Hussain Obama the President of the U.S.A. in his address to a group of students in india on 07-11-2010 expressed his justful and judicious views about Pakistan and Islam. As a social being, i feel that his comments which indeed are original to his person are very impartial. I also feel that if the same are translated into action by the State Department the same will go a long way in reducing the trust deficit between the governments of U.S.A. and Pakistan and the peoples of the two countries.
There can hardly be any Muslim the world over who would not agree with the U.S. President that islam has been defamed by some mischief mongers. Islam is
the religion of human love and as ordained in the Holy Quraan if one kills another man without any justful reason it is as though he has killed the entire humanity. Similarly, if one saves the life of another man it is as if he has saved the entire humanity.
No president of the U.S.A. has been as forthright and straight forward as the respectable Obama has been. This view can be substantiated by certain historical facts about the distrust prevailing between the Governments of Pakistan and the US and their peoples. For example, in the year 1971 when the then Eastern Wing of Pakistan i.e., East Pakistan now Bangladesh was agressed upon by India the then U.S. President Nixon had said that the American 17th fleeting will reach Pakistan for the defence of its East Wing. Inspite of his repeated promises the 17th fleet never reached and Pakistan was ultimately dismembered in December, 1971. The repeated false statements of President Nixon caused a huge trust deficit between the two countries and their peoples. Ultimately, Nixon fell a victim to Water Gate Scandal. Next comes the era of Sr. Bush as President of the US. As a staunchest strategic ally of the U.S., Pakistan had wholeheartedly supported the U.S. policy of driving the Soviet occupation forces out of Afghanistan by providing the Afghan refugees a home like refuge and training them with American Weapons in the training camps on Pakistani soil. Both the Government of Pakistan and the people of Pakistan had made huge sacrifices in forcing the Soviet Troops to vacate Afghanistan for the sake of implementing U.S. strategy. No sooner did the Soviet Forces leave Afghanistan then Sr. Bush gave a statement that Pakistan will be included in the list of Terrorist States. Besides, the term of a failed state was also applied to Paksitan by the U.S. state department at that time. This U-turn in relations with a strategic partner i.e., Pakistan by Sr. Bush administration shattered the minds of the people of Pakistan and discouraged the Government of Pakistan. This attitude of the U.S. administration towards Pakistan as a strategic ally broadened the gulf of distrust between the two countries.
Viewed in the backdrop of the afore stated historical background, the views of Barrak Hussain Obama may serve as a means of tying up the hearts and minds of the people of the two countries together. The views of American President will help mitigate the gulf of distrust and religious hatred between muslims and non muslims all over the world. His views are of a cosmopolitan importance both in nature and substance. As a true human being, everyone will like him. May ALLAH bless him and his family.

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