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Pearl Harbor Makes Second Relief Delivery to Pakistan

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS051024-03
Release Date: 10/24/2005 3:46:00 PM

By Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class (AW/SW) Tony Spiker, Expeditionary Strike Group 1 Public Affairs

KARACHI, Pakistan (NNS) -- Karachi welcomed the return of USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) Oct. 24 as it pulled into the port city for the second time this week, carrying 140 tons of relief supplies destined for the earthquake-devastated region of northern Pakistan.

The cargo of food, blankets, mattresses and other essentials - enough to fill the flight deck of the San Diego-based ship - was donated by Pakistanis living in United Arab Emirates and will go immediately to those most affected by the disaster.

On hand to greet Pearl Harbor as it arrived was a group of 13 young Pakistanis from the Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program, ages 13–21, who volunteered their time to help their country.

“They have answered the Prime Minister’s call to assist their nation in whatever way possible to alleviate the suffering of the nation’s earthquake victims,” said Mary Witt, the U.S. Consul General in Karachi. “We are glad they were able to take time away from that noble effort to witness the offloading of relief supplies that will be transferred into the hands of the Pakistani Army for rapid delivery to the most affected areas.”

During the offload, Pearl Harbor Sailors gave the young men and women a tour of the ship.

“I feel touched,” said Malem Alleh, one of the students. “It is really great to see the United States come and help us in our time of need.”

This is the second delivery of relief supplies by Pearl Harbor into Karachi. On Oct. 18, Pearl Harbor arrived here carrying 159 tons of heavy lift equipment now being used to clear and build roads to the most devastated regions. The second shipment, donated by Pakistani expatriates living in the United Arab Emirates, consisted of food and blankets, which will more directly aid those most affected by the earthquake.

“One of the things the crew really made clear to me was the importance of this cargo to them,” said Cmdr. Jonathan Harnden, Pearl Harbor’s commanding officer. “They look at trucks or forklifts and know that it will do good, but when they see blankets that will keep a family warm in the coming winter, it really hits home, the importance of their mission.”

The delivery, which involved the American Sailors, relief donors from the United Arab Emirates and Pakistani citizens, all eager to help the victims, underscores the multinational cooperation that has been the silver lining of this tragedy.

“That was one of the things that is really special to me about this mission,” said Harnden. “We have three different countries coming together to help people in need. This is the kind of mission that the Expeditionary Strike Group trains for, working in a joint environment, whether it is putting Marines on a beach in [exercise] Bright Star, or searching vessels at sea with Task Force 150, or coming together with the world to provide humanitarian relief in Pakistan, the crew of the Pearl Harbor is ready to do its part.”

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