Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Rain halts all quake relief helicopter flights in Pakistan

Pakistani authorities suspended all helicopter flights to quake-hit areas today because of torrential rainstorms, an official at Chaklala airbase, near Islamabad, said.

"All helicopter flights have been stopped from Chaklala," the official said.

"There are dozens of helicopters and choppers with relief goods but they are stranded at the base for the past one hour. They cannot fly until weather is clear here and up in the north and Kashmir."

Pakistan Air Force spokesman Air Commodore Sarfraz Khan said the weather conditions had also stranded helicopters in the northern regions hit by the quake.

"Some are stranded at Chaklala, some are stranded in the northern areas," he said.

The choppers have been a vital part of the effort to reach remote areas of Pakistan cut off when landslides wiped out many roads. The main roads to Muzaffarabad were reopened earlier today.

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