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US assures Pakistan to continue help in flood affected areas – APP

KALAM (Swat), Nov 4 (APP): American Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter on Thursday expressing satisfaction for effective distribution of relief goods to flood affected people assured that the U.S. would continue its help and assistance to Pakistan to face the challenge following devastating floods. Talking to reporters here after visiting some of the flood affected areas, the Ambassador said he was satisfied that Pakistan Army, US troops and NGOs had done a marvelous job to provide relief to the affected people in a well organised and well coordinated way.

Ambassador Munter along with wife especially came from Islamabad to witness the damage and plight of the flood victims personally.
He said he is satisfied with the first phase of relief operation and assured that America and international community would extend full support and cooperation to Pakistan in reconstruction phase.
The ambassador said in reconstruction phase, the rebuilding of infrastructure including bridges and roads would be given priority.
He said meeting of Development Forum being held in Islamabad next week will fix priorities for the reconstruction phase for the flood damaged areas.
The ambassador said helping the local population to improve their crops and other local infrastructure would also be due importance by America and other international donors.
Munter said the cooperation between Pakistan and America in this relief efforts would strengthen friendly relations of two countries.
About his perception about Pakistan after just one week stay here the Ambassador said he was told that it would be anti-American society but it is not like that.
He said, “ Its not anti-American country and people are very friendly.”
Replying to a question the Ambassador said the legislation for ROZs should be expedited to provide real help to the people who were affected due successful military operation against militant in these areas.
He said that he was happy that aid is available and people are getting it despite damaged infrastructure.
The Ambassador said same cooperation would continue in reconstruction phase.
Answering a question about progress on projects under Friends of Democratic Pakistan, Ambassador said progress is going on but when there are great expectations then there could be some frustration if things are not moving with fast pace.
He said meanwhile assessments of damage were being made for the projects of FoDP.
He also appreciated the work done by Pakistan Army to fight against insurgency and ensuring peace in the region.
Earlier talking to the flood affected people of Kalam the Ambassador said he understood their difficulties and assured that the American help will continue till the completion of reconstruction phase.
He said that he is here to express solidarity with them on the losses due to flood and to ensure that America will provide you maximum help.
The Ambassador said, “I hope you will recover soon.”
He said, “We want to build friendship for longer time and we are here to work together.”
The people of the area said that are facing problems due to damaged roads and bridges. They said flood washed away their whole vegetable crop but thanked Pakistan and American governments for providing basic needs of life.
They said it will take two to three years for their complete revival to normal life and till that they need assistance.
It was the first ever visit by new US ambassador Cameron Munter to flood affected areas soon after assuming the charge here last week. His wife also accompanied him during this visit from Islamabad to Kalam. The ambassador, his staff and the media visited the flood hit areas on American Chinook and Black Hawk helicopter.

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