As UN officials tried to unravel the
situation in quake-ravaged Pakistan they said was worse than the
horror in Indonesia following the tsunami, NATO delegates were to
meet Friday to decide how they will respond. They were reportedly
going to consider urgent pleas for a massive airlift of food and
equipment into the worst-hit areas of the Muslim country.
"You must rest assured that NATO fully realizes the gravity of
the situation and … NATO will act accordingly," NATO
Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said, quoted by
NATO delegates in Brussels were spurred by hand-wringing UN aid
officials like Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland, who told a
Geneva news conference Thursday, "The emergency in Kashmir is
becoming worse by the day as the extent... dawns on us. The world
is not responding as we should be," Egeland told a news conference
in Geneva. We have never had this kind of logistical nightmare
ever. We thought the tsunami was bad, this is worse."
Already acting on its own, the
Pentagon responded to an urgent call for light helicopters by the
government of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. At least 40 US
helicopters are on the ground in Pakistan now.
"We need a second Berlin airbridge," Egeland said of the
legendary airlift into West Berlin at the dawn of the Cold War. "We
are humanitarians, we don't know how to evacuate hundreds of
thousands of people in the Himalayas. But the most efficient
military alliance in the world should be able to."