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Clinton, Shah Discuss Long-Term Help, Disease Monitoring In Pakistan After Flooding

After flooding in northwest Pakistan killed more than 1,500 people and displaced an estimated 300,000, leaders of the State Department and USAID are “promising an extended mission to deal with the long-term effects,” Foreign Policy’s “The Cable” blog reports. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah briefed reporters Wednesday about the disaster and their agencies’ efforts in the region (Rogin, 8/4)

In response to a question about disease prevention, Shah said the health effort “will commence by standing up this early warning system so that there’s a professional surveillance capability so we know if and when there are disease outbreaks, how to handle that and where they are. We’ll also include field hospitals as well as just a broad restocking of health clinics and support,” according to a State Department transcript. He said USAID has been sending commodities, medicines and vaccines to Pakistan from a warehouse in Dubai (8/4).

“Shah said that hundred[s] of USAID staff are being mobilized to help with the response and that some of the planning and assessments were being done by the U.S. military in cooperation with the Pakistani government,” The Cable writes (8/4).

At the same briefing, Clinton “said Pakistan can count on long-term U.S. support as it deals with the consequences of the worst flooding in decades,” VOA News reports. The news service notes that though the U.S. has made “several aid announcements” concerning the flood situation, “Clinton’s televised appearance in the State Department treaty room gave a higher profile to U.S. efforts” (Gollust, 8/4). NPR’s “The Two-Way” blog has a video of Clinton’s remarks (Gura, 8/4).   

Clinton also “said that disaster relief was part of the new strengthening of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship,” according to The Cable blog. She called aid an “essential part” of the partnership between the two countries (8/4).

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