Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Secretary Hillary Clinton announces $110 million in emergency humanitarian aid to Pakistan

Today was a big day for the Secretary. Lots on the schedule and lots in the news. First up was the announcement of Humanitarian Aid to Pakistan. This took place at the daily press briefing with Robert Gates in the Brady Room at the White House.

She began her statement by stating:

"The last time I was in this room, on May 6th, I spoke about the United States' commitment to stand by Pakistan's people and the democratically elected government as they work to restore security in their country. And President Obama is determined to match our words with our actions, because Pakistan's government is leading the fight against extremists that threaten the future of their country and our collective security.

At the same time, though, Pakistan is facing a major humanitarian crisis."

The Secretary announced that the United States was sending $110 million in emergency humanitarian aid to Pakistan, part of the administration's new strategy for countering the appeal of Taliban militants in the nuclear-armed American ally. She detailed the aid package, saying the money is flowing to ease the plight of about 2 million Pakistanis who have fled fighting in the country's Swat Valley and are living in squalid tent cities.

President Barack Obama has spoken of the need to improve the lives of people in both Pakistan and Afghanistan as part of the administration's new plan for linking the U.S. fight against the resurgent Taliban in the two countries.

The White House said $100 million in aid would flow from Clinton's State Department, with $10 million is coming from the Pentagon and the largest single expenditure is $26 million for the immediate purchase of wheat, other food and related items produced in Pakistan, the White House statement said.

Pakistan welcomes the announcement by Secretary Clinton said Pakistan's U.S. ambassador, Husain Haqqani, "It is a manifestation of the commitment of the United States to support the people of Pakistan and of the generosity of the U.S. people." He also encouraged those in the U.S to donate to help the refugees. An advocacy group for refugees said the aid was "a very positive step" but added that much more is needed.

Also, the State Department and the Obama Administration launched a new technology aspect to this aid package to Pakistan through text messaging:

"We are working to support the Pakistani government in launching a text-messaging system that will alert local communities to assistance efforts and will help family members keep in touch.

We have been hard at work in this area for a number of weeks, looking for ways that we can get communications directly to people on the ground. And we know that a lot of the Pakistanis who are being displaced by the conflict have cell phones. So we're going to try to reach directly to them, not only to give them information that will be of assistance to them, but also to provide a way of connecting them up with other people, with the military, with the governing authorities.

Now, Americans can use technology to help, as well. Using your cell phones, Americans can text the word "swat" -- to the number 20222 and make a $5 contribution that will help the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees provide tents, clothing, food, and medicine to hundreds of thousands of affected people. "

Read Hillary's full press conference here or watch the full video below:

Watch the live feed from MSNBC below:

Just about immediately after the press conference at the White House, the Secretary held a Global Press Conference at the Foreign Press Center in Washington, DC.

She was asked a number of questions on issues ranging from the G8 Summit in Italy, President Obama visiting Africa, and Canada as a gateway for the 9/11 bombers.

Read the Secretary's full remarks as well as the following Q&A here or watch below:

1 comment:

Still4Hill said...

Now seriously, if you were spending every day looking at and listening to Gibbs, and then SHE walked in - what? Look at her! Even still pics look like they're moving - look at the smile - the light in her eyes. I would be sending up incense and lighting candles in thanks for getting a briefing from her. I hated Chuck Todd during the primaries with his constant numbers game, but look at him now! Hanging on her every word. I think every chicken comes home to rosst eventually.

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