US offers assistance to Pakistan for quake relief


The United States offered to assist Pakistan in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that hit Pakistan’s remote south-west province of Balochistan killing over 350 people, the White House said.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Pakistan, and we always stand ready to assist in any way we can in a terrible situation like that, a natural disaster,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, told reporters.
“It is certainly the case that Pakistan has suffered more than its fair share of natural disasters,” Carney said in response to a question. The 7.7-magnitude quake struck on Tuesday afternoon at a depth of 20km (13 miles) north-east of Awaran, the US Geological Survey said. The number of injured exceeded 500 and people rummaged through rubble for possessions. The devastating quake flattened many houses and thousands of people had to spend the night in the open. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan informed the National Assembly that so far there are confirmed reports of 348 deaths and 530 injured in quake-hit areas. Giving a policy statement the minister said the government has mobilized all civil and military institutions to ensure quick and effective relief efforts in Balochistan. He said quake -hit area is quite large and population is spread out in small spots. He said logistics is a real challenge in spotting affectees, however, the government will ensure that every person receives relief.
Talking about some troubled areas, the minister said it is sad that there are certain elements who were interrupting the relief operation. Nisar said now the government is initiating an aerial supply operation, through which quake affectees would be provided with food, shelters and medicines through C-130. He said Awaran and Kech Districts of Balochistan, which were quite remote areas, were vastly hit by the earthquake. Giving the details of damages, the minister said 305 deaths have been reported in Awaran and 43 in Kech so far. He feared an increase in deaths and injured as soon as the situation crystallizes. He said large numbers of houses are destroyed. Nisar said over thousand army and 300 FC personnel were taking part in the rescue and relief operation. He said another team of army has departed from Khuzdar to Awaran. He said doctors and paramedical staff is also deployed on ground. The minister said so far 1000 food packets, 4000 flour bags and 200 tents have been distributed among the affectees while NDMA has made 7000 food packets and 7000 tents available in Awaran and Karachi camps which will be distributed among the affectees.
The minister said the PDMA Punjab has dispatched 5000 tents, equal number of food packets and 400 blankets for Baloch brothers. Five health kits enough for 5000 patients have also been sent to Balochistan. He said three trucks of medicines and teams of paramedical staff and doctors have been sent from the Sindh government to the earthquake hit areas. He informed that Red Cross has provided two tons of medicines. The 7.7 magnitude earthquake has rendered 21,000 families homeless mounting the death toll to 348 .