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Cover Stories Series 2011> Chinese International Search and Rescue Team 10 Years On> Archive
UPDATED: September 19, 2010 Web Exclusive
Pakistani Official Hails China's Relief Assistance
Pakistan is grateful for Chinese assistance in coping with the worst floods in recent history


TIMELY ASSISTANCE: Admiral Noman Bashir, Chief of Naval Staff of Pakistan, visits the Chinese international rescue team in Thatta, south Pakistan's Sindh Province, on September 2 (YUAN MAN) 

Pakistan is grateful for Chinese assistance in coping with the worst floods in recent history, said a senior Pakistani naval official.

"It is not only making statements and giving reports in newspapers, but is actually helping," said Admiral Noman Bashir, Chief of Naval Staff.

In addition to relief goods, such as equipment, food and medicine, China has also sent medical workers to flood-hit areas in southern Pakistan, he told reporters in Beijing on September 18.

Severe floods have devastated large parts of Pakistan since late July. They have killed nearly 2,000 people and exposed more than 20 million others to homelessness, malnutrition, risk of epidemics and loss of livelihood, according to UN estimates.

The rolling floods have damaged nearly 1.9 million homes and affected at least 160,000 square kman area larger than England. The UN has recently called for $2.07 billion raised for flood victims in Pakistan in its largest-ever natural disaster relief appeal.

To date, the Chinese Government has donated 320 million yuan ($47 million) worth of humanitarian aid to Pakistan. It sent a second rescue team, consisting of more than 60 members, to Thatta, Sindh Province, on September 14. They were sent to replace the first team, which arrived on August 27.

"These are difficult times," Bashir said. "Pakistani people, government and military are all working together with the help of our friends, especially China. We are sure that we will be able to overcome this challenge."

The Pakistani Navy, for instance, has ordered marines to conduct rescue and relief operations throughout the country and has saved more than 200,000 people, he said.

Bashir was in China for the commissioning ceremony held in the port city of Shanghai for a frigate jointly built by China and Pakistan.

Pakistan is willing to strengthen maritime cooperation with China to address challenges, such as piracy, in Pakistan's adjacent waters, he said.

Discussions are underway for China and Pakistan to collaborate in developing submarines and larger warships, he added. And at least two Chinese warships will take part in the biennial international naval exercises Aman 2011, to be held in Karachi, Pakistan, next March.





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