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NATO to enhance assistance to Pakistan

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, Oct 22, IRNA
NATO has decided to enhance its assistance to Pakistan with a name to alleviate sufferings of the affected people of earthquake, a top NATO official said here on Saturday.

The NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for operations, Ambassador Mauriits Jachems told a news conference in Islamabad that NATO has set up a major strategic airlift operation of relief supplies to Pakistan which is unprecedented in NATO's history.

He said forty helicopters from NATO Nations are already operating in the relief operations and six more would be included shortly.

He said that nine NATO flights loaded with relief goods have arrived in Islamabad and four more are expected today.

He said that momentum is now there and hoped that four flights on average will be landing in Islamabad daily carrying relief goods and machinery.

The NATO representative said its planes will also deliver ten thousand tents from Turkey within a day or two.

He said a Battalion of Engineers from NATO countries consisting on five to six hundred engineers will be landing Islamabad next week with light equipment to clear hilly roads in the affected areas.

He said NATO is also ready for a sea-lift operation to deliver heavy equipment and other relief goods to Pakistan if requested by its government.

To a question NATO representative said humanitarian assistance is relatively new in NATO operations but we are here to support Pakistan in providing medical, transport, logistic and engineering fields to help out the affected people.

To another question, he said Pakistan needs more help and NATO has decided to fully assist it in its humanitarian assistance.

He said that NATO will also send three water purification plants to meet the increasing need.

To a question, the Chief of NATO Operational Team in Pakistan Brigadier General Antonius Strik said that NATO troops will be deployed in consultation with the Pakistani authorities and details for their deployment are being worked out with the authorities.

He said these troops will be assisting Pakistani Engineers in clearing roads in the affected areas so that relief activities could be further intensified.

He said Islamabad Airport can not afford to handle such a huge airlift operation being carried out by NATO and friendly countries of Pakistan and said that NATO has suggested Pakistan government to use Lahore and Feasalabad airports to speed up this operation.


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