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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Afghan gov't, Coalition partners aid flood victims in Laghman

3 April 2007
Combined Joint Task Force-82 Press Release

JALALABAD AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - The Laghman provincial government, Afghan National Security Forces and Coalition partners provided vital humanitarian assistance to flood victims in northeastern Afghanistan March 31-April 1.

The relief efforts came in the wake of severe flooding to the south of the provincial capital of Mehtar Lam. The flooding, which filled some areas with waist-high water, stranded around 200 Afghan civilians and left many without food, dry clothing or shelter.

Gov. Gulab Mangal of Laghman and ANSF spearheaded efforts to house villagers displaced by the flooding. Afghanistan International Transportation helicopters rescued around 150 stranded citizens.

Connecticut National Guardsmen from Task Force Iron Gray and members of the Mehtar Lam Provincial Reconstruction Team, meanwhile, assisted Mangal and ANSF in the relief efforts.

Islamic Republic of Afghanistan government and Coalition forces delivered food items including prepared meals, rice, beans and water. They distributed such clothing articles as jackets, gloves, sweaters, socks and gloves as well as tarps and blankets to the Qhargahe District Center for distribution through the Red Crescent.

Rain and melting snow in eastern Afghanistan has caused rivers and creeks to rise above normal levels prompting the flooding.

The allied effort brought life saving relief to dozens of Afghan families imperilled by the flooding. Coalition leaders praised the decisive efforts of Afghan government leaders during the crisis.

“Governor Mangal did an excellent job of coordinating all of the rescue and relief operations,” said Army Lt. Col. Steven Gilbert, the commander of Task Force Iron Gray. “He demonstrated how effective the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is with taking care of its people.”

“As Coalition forces are here to help the people of Afghanistan we did everything in our power to render assistance when Governor Mangal called,” Gilbert added. “I am very pleased with evacuating the flood victims and to arrange for the helicopters to assist in the rescue of so many citizens of Laghman. My Soldiers felt very good about the opportunity to deliver food, blankets and clothing in such a time of need.”

Photo: Villagers from Qhargahe District, Laghman Province observe as an Afghanistan International Air helicopter prepares to land and rescue villagers stranded by flood waters April 1. AIT transported the villagers to the Zangaray Refugee Camp nearby. Coalition forces from Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam assisted with humanitarian assistance goods and helped coordinate rescue efforts by AIT and U.N. helicopters. (Photo by Air Force Capt. Gerardo Gonzalez).

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