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U.S. Transfers Mobile Army Surgical Hospital to Pakistan Military

16 February 2006

MASH tent hospital to continue helping South Asia earthquake survivors

Washington -- The United States transferred its historic 212th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) on February 16 to Pakistani military personnel, who will continue using the tent facility to treat South Asia earthquake survivors.

The transfer of the $4.6 million tent hospital is part of evolving U.S. assistance to Pakistan. The United States has set a target date of March 31 to end emergency military assistance to Pakistan, but the U.S. government will continue providing nonmilitary relief-and-reconstruction assistance worth more than $500 million. (See related article.)

The October 8, 2005, South Asia earthquake claimed more than 73,000 lives, displaced 2.8 million people from their homes and caused widespread destruction in one of the most mountainous and inaccessible regions of Pakistan.

At the invitation of the Pakistani government, the U.S. military and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) arrived in Pakistan October 10, 2005, to help relief efforts. The 84-bed MASH unit arrived in Muzaffarabad on October 24, 2005, and has treated more than 20,000 patients, according to a news release from the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan.

“The MASH will continue to provide essential healthcare to Muzaffarabad while local medical infrastructure is rebuilt,” according to the February 16 news release. Approximately 200 U.S. military medical personnel were assigned to the 212th MASH. All MASH personnel were scheduled to return to their home base in Miesau, Germany, following the February 16 transfer.

The 212th MASH was the “last of its kind in the U.S. Army,” the U.S. Embassy said. The deployable hospital dates to World War I, but it has gone through numerous equipment and personnel changes over the decades. In the past 15 years, the facility has deployed and treated patients in Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia and Iraq.

The entire MASH facility is worth $4.6 million, the U.S. Embassy said. That includes $4 million in medical equipment, $200,000 of expendable medical supplies, $281,000 of power equipment, and $126,000 of medical maintenance equipment. The portable facility consists of a primary health care and emergency medical treatment section, a surgical suite with two operating tables, two intensive care units, one intermediate-care ward and one moderate-care ward, a pharmacy, lab, radiology units, plus power-and-maintenance equipment and storage containers for packing and moving the hospital.

The United States has pledged $510 million to support relief-and-reconstruction efforts by the Pakistan government. In addition, the United States has committed $1.5 billion over five years to support education, health, economic growth and governance programs throughout the country.

For more information, see U.S. Response to the Earthquake in South Asia.

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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