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Mass Guard provides aid to Afghan flood victims 
 
Mass Guard provides aid to Afghan Flood Victims 
Kabul Provincial Governor Zebiullah Mucaddidi (far left) shakes hands with Capt. Warnie Gick thanking him and other members of the 1st Battalion, 101st Field Artillery Regiment, Massachusetts Army National Guard, for their support during a humanitarian aid drop to flood victims in the Musahi District, south of Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 15, 2010. (U.S. Army photo by Capt. Anthony Deiss)
By Capt. Anthony Deiss, 196th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade 

KABUL – It was a partnership to provide hope for flood victims in the Musahi District, south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15 as Afghan and coalition forces delivered humanitarian aid to displaced families.

“We lost everything in the flood,” said one local man. “With the help of the government and military, we have hope for our future and can begin to rebuild.”

Members of the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police,  U.S. military and Turkish forces participated in the relief effort to procure and deliver food, clothing, tents, blankets and stoves to 150 families. The supplies were delivered in response to recent flooding caused by heavy rains that breeched the banks of a local river, effecting more than 600 people.

“We are here to help the displaced families who are in need,” said Sgt. Walirahman Rahmani, ANA Soldier. “It’s a joint event. We have American and other forces from NATO here helping the Afghans.”

“This humanitarian relief effort was a true partnership between the Afghan Security Forces, the U.S. and Turkish forces,” said Capt. Benjamin Mailhot, civil military operations officer from 1st Battalion, 101st Field Artillery Regiment, Massachusetts Army National Guard. “I think it’s outstanding the level of cooperation we have with our Afghan partners to put this relief package together.”

The Kabul Provincial Governor Zebiullah Mucaddidi was also on hand to meet with local village elders and assisted in passing out relief supplies. The Afghan government, along with the village elders, helped to identify the families that were the most in need of receiving aid.

“We are making sure the humanitarian aid goes to the needy families,” said Khawani Hussainkhil, a local village elder.

According to Mailhot, of Belmont, Mass., the 1-101 FAR was able to use Commanders Emergency Response Program funds, or CERP, to quickly procure aid for the families affected by the flood. The CERP gives U.S. military commanders the ability to quickly buy needed supplies for emergencies or projects that benefit the Afghan people.

After the request for support came from the Turkish military, which provides oversight for the Regional Command – Capital area, the 1-101 FAR was able to procure and deliver the supplies within several days of the of flooding.

The Musahi humanitarian aid drop is the largest the 1-101 FAR has supported since being in Afghanistan and the hope they will be able to provide future support for the people of this area.

“We are hoping to have a continued presence in this region and provide future projects that support the people,” said Mailhot. “Wells and bridges are just a few examples of things the people need.”

“It feels good to be out here working with the ANA, ANP and Turkish military helping the people,” said Staff Sgt. Anthony Farese, Peabody, Mass., of Alpha Battery, 1-101 FAR. “That’s why we are here – to help the people.”

“We are thankful for their cooperation with the Afghan people,” said Hussainkhil of the coalition. “I as a representative of the villagers am personally thankful for the assistance, and the people – who this supports goes to – are also thankful.”

8/16/2010