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Kerry headed to Pakistan to survey the flood damage

As the Obama Administration intensified its relief and rescue work in Pakistan, where more than 14 million people have been affected by flood, US announced that powerful Senator John Kerry is visiting the country next week to survey the damage caused by the disaster.

world Updated: Aug 13, 2010 11:17 IST

As the Obama Administration intensified its relief and rescue work in Pakistan, where more than 14 million people have been affected by flood, US announced that powerful Senator John Kerry is visiting the country next week to survey the damage caused by the disaster.

Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a close confidant of US President, Barack Obama, the visit by Kerry, the first high profile visit after flood hit the country, assumes significance as he is the author of the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill that allocated $7.5 billion to Pakistan in five years.

"We will have one of our first very high-profile US government officials visit Pakistan next week to survey the flood damage. Senator John Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will be headed to the region," said Dan Feldman, Deputy Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan.

This is sign of the continuing commitment of the US Government, his own personal connections with Pakistan, as well as his chairmanship role, he said.

"This will be a critical visit to help raise the profile among publics both in the US and internationally," Feldman told foreign reporters.

To date, approximately $76 million in assistance is being provided by the US to flood-affected populations in Pakistan and more are expected in the coming days.

"We have to both build the capacity of the government, because they have a critical role to play here, but we are also working whenever possible directly with NGOs that directly benefit the people and through these very, very long-standing relationships with a number of key international and domestic NGOs, as well as UN agencies that have a very good track record in providing help directly to people," he said in response to a question.