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Pakistan Floods Continue, News Outlets Look At U.S. Response

As rains and flooding in Pakistan continue, “the U.S. is racing to provide basic human needs, like makeshift housing,” the Christian Science Monitor reports in an article looking at how the U.S. disaster response is being shaped by “the global battle with militant Islam.”

“Mindful that the Taliban and other extremist organizations will be anxious to fill a void left by an unprepared government, the U.S. is carefully noting at each announcement of additional assistance that the U.S. effort is being conducted in full cooperation with Pakistani authorities,” the newspaper writes. “We are working in support of the relief effort of the Pakistani government and together with the humanitarian community to quickly provide aid to those in need,” said Mark Ward, acting director of USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance. The article also includes analysis from Malou Innocent, a specialist in U.S. Afghanistan-Pakistan policy at the Cato Institute (LaFranchi, 8/9).

On Monday, Pakistani officials asked the U.S. to “supply immediately dozens more helicopters and significantly more money and supplies to help deal with the widespread flooding,” the Washington Post reports. But according to a White House official, Pakistan has not yet submitted a formal request for more helicopters or significantly more aid. The official said the White House is “trying to respond to every request and to assist as best we can as it becomes evident what it is that they need.”

“Pakistani officials have been effusive in expressing gratitude for the rapid U.S. response, a senior Pakistani official said, but the need ‘is enormous,'” the newspaper writes. “The hope is that the United States can come up with at least another $100 million in disaster funding in addition to more helicopters, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity about the request, which is still being formalized” (De Young, 8/10).

Meanwhile, the State Department said U.S. emergency relief teams are still arriving in the country to provide assistance, CNN reports, noting that “[m]any Pakistanis are not happy with [their] government’s response to the floods, saying it has been slow and ineffective.”

National Security Advisor General James Jones said, “The size of this disaster requires a concerted international effort to support the Pakistani response plan and the following recovery effort.” He continued, “The United States stands with the Pakistani authorities as they face the difficult challenges this natural disaster poses and will continue to work with the international community to increase assistance” (8/10).

A State Department press release outlines the situation and the U.S. response so far (8/9).