In a paradoxical move while reportedly denying permission to the use of US-controlled Shahbaz air force base in southern Sindh province for flood relief operation, the Department of State has established the Pakistan Relief Fund. The establishment of the fund was announced on August 19, in a video statement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. This Fund is in addition to $150 million help announced earlier.
The floods have affected 20 million people and about one-fifth of Pakistan's territory. The flood disaster has apparently hit more Pakistanis than the toll of the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, the Indian Ocean tsunami and the Haiti earthquake combined.
In a stunning statement before the Standing Committee on Health of the Senate,
Health Secretary Khushnood Lashari said, on August 18, that the relief operations in flood-hit areas of Jacobabad could not be conducted from the Shahbaz airbase because it is controlled by the US.
"Health relief operations are not possible in the flood-affected areas of Jacobabad because the airbase is with the United States," he said answering a question from a member of the committee.