US ready to send assistance to quake-hit Pakistan and Afghan

Washington: Offering deepest condolences to those hit by a major earthquake in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the US has said it is ready to provide any kind of assistance to the two countries.

“We offer our deepest condolences to all those who were affected by the earthquake in Afghanistan, including the families of those who died in Afghanistan and in Pakistan,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters yesterday.

US officials said it has not received request for any kind of assistance from Pakistan. The US government, he said, has been in touch with the governments in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“We stand ready to provide any additional support that may be needed. This was an area of the globe that is plagued by these kinds of incidents, so it’s not the first time that these governments are responsible for responding to these kinds of situations,” he said.

Earnest said there is a substantial United States Agency for International Development (USAID) presence in both of these countries to try to assist their needs and there are a number of pre-positioned emergency shelter and relief supply kits in warehouses throughout Afghanistan.

“In Pakistan, USAID has existing partners who are ready to respond if necessary. So we certainly do have some assets that could be helpful, and we stand ready to do what we can to help the governments as they respond to this terrible situation,” he said.

State Department Spokesman John Kirby said he is not aware of US receiving request for any assistance in this regard. “We are deeply saddened by reports of deaths and destruction in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The United States stands ready to help should governments request international assistance,” said USAID Acting Administrator Alfonso E Lenhardt.

“USAID has disaster specialists in the affected countries and Washington, who are monitoring the situation and are in contact with government officials and humanitarian partners,” he said.

“USAID has a proud history of working to improve lives in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and we remain committed to supporting the region in the aftermath of this disaster,” he added.