Four Chinese military helicopters landed in Pakistani capital Islamabad on Wednesday for a stopover before heading south to the flood-hit Sindh province for relief aid. The helicopters took off from northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and arrived in north Pakistan’s Gilgit on Tuesday.
Along with the four helicopters, the Central Military Commission of China has dispatched 64 rescue personnel to Pakistan, reported Xinhua, Chinese official media service.
Receiving them at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Liu Jian said that it is the very first time Chinese army helicopters have been sent overseas on a humanitarian mission, further highlighting China’s relief efforts for flooded Pakistanis.
The ambassador wished the Chinese team a happy Mid-Autumn Festival, known as Moon Festival, a traditional Chinese festival which falls on Wednesday this year.
Zhao Bin, head of the rescue team, told Xinhua that the four helicopters were engaged in search and rescue missions after several major natural disasters in China, including the catastrophic Wenchuan earthquake on May 12, 2008, and the Zhouqu mudslide this year.
In early August, the Chinese military delivered a batch of emergency humanitarian aid worth 10 million yuan (1.48 million US dollars) to Pakistan, in addition to the aid of 320 million yuan (47.4 million dollars) from the Chinese government. A 68-member military medical team from China is also working in Sehwan of Sindh.