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More troops, supplies arrive in Pakistan

By Annette Fournier

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 28, 2005) Additional U.S. Army medical, aviation and engineer units from Europe, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Kansas and Texas are now helping with relief efforts in Pakistan following the earthquake earlier this month.

The Army is focusing efforts in Pakistan-administered Kashmir where rain, hail, high winds and more than 700 quake aftershocks have complicated relief efforts. More than 54,000 were killed, 75,000 injured and up to 3 million have been left homeless as a result of the earthquake.

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Coalition Forces Land Component Command sent a shipment of heavy construction equipment from Kuwait Oct. 27. The shipment included cranes, fuel tankers, road graders, dump trucks and other heavy equipment from theater sustainment stocks available for use in Pakistan.

CFLCC also shipped four containers of medical supplies. The new equipment is in addition to the 200 pallets flown to Pakistan from Kuwait City International Airport. The palletized tents, cots, blankets and packaged meals sent to date are valued at approximately $4 million.

Troops diverted from OEF

Combined Joint Task Force-76 operating in Afghanistan sent eight helicopters, five CH-47 Chinooks and three UH-60 Black Hawks, to Islamabad to assist with relief and rescue efforts there. The task force has sent medical personnel as well as a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital capable of treating 30 patients at a time.

Aircraft crews are delivering relief supplies, dropping some by parachute to remote areas that are inaccessible as a result of the quake’s destruction. The relief efforts are being coordinated with Pakistani authorities so the military can best support the country’s needs, said Lt. Col. Edwin Hernandez, Combined Joint Task Force, Logistics.

About 200 Army Reserve Soldiers from the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment deployed with 12 CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters. The unit will conduct rescue operations, work to rebuild infrastructure elements, and transport personnel and cargo.

The unit was recently mobilized from Olathe, Kan., and had reported to Fort Sill, Okla., to deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Their orders were changed so they could support relief operations, but the Soldiers will proceed to Afghanistan upon completion of duty in Pakistan.

Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment and the 2nd Battalion, 6th Cavalry Regiment already serving in Afghanistan were sent with five CH-47 Chinook and three UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and supplies Oct. 10 to assist relief operations. They are assisting in evacuation of the injured and delivering relief supplies.

Five U. S. service members from Office of Security Cooperation Afghanistan Air Division and four OSCA interpreters accompanied relief teams sent by the Afghan National Army to assist with medical treatment and delivering supplies. Afghanistan also sent 34 doctors, including three women, for medical treatment.

Relief operations in full swing

U. S. Army Europe sent about 200 Soldiers from the 212th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, the 160th Forward Surgical Team, and the 123rd Main Support Battalion, 1st Armored Division to Muzaffarrabad, Pakistan to assist in medical relief efforts and set up a water purification site. The 66th Military Intelligence Group is providing translators.

Fifty Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 227th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade deployed with five Chinook helicopters Oct. 14 to 18. This is the unit’s third deployment in three months, after supporting both hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Engineers assessing damage

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Afghanistan Engineer District has been assessing damage in the Muzaffarabad region from aircraft to evaluate roads and bridges leading to some of the areas most in need of relief. Landslides and tremors have covered many roads with rocks, dirt and uprooted trees, complicating efforts to reach these areas.

Engineers are also assessing the extent of damage to housing, and the structural stability of public buildings like schools and hospitals. Twenty six hospitals and more nearly 600 health clinics in Pakistan were destroyed or have sustained too much damage to reopen, according to the World Health Organization.

Engineers from the Combined Joint Task Force-76 in Afghanistan are also conducting aerial reconnaissance of damage to major roadways and other infrastructure to assess rebuilding needs.

For more information on relief efforts, see Army helping in Himalayas with reverse osmosis

(Editor's note: This story was compiled from news releases.)

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