Chopper unit back from Pakistan

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) About 180 members of the Ground Self-Defense Force who had been dispatched to Pakistan for flood relief work returned to Fukuoka airport Tuesday morning.

The team was in Pakistan mainly to transport aid supplies by chopper. It largely consisted of members from a GSDF division based in Kasuga in Fukuoka Prefecture and the Central Readiness Force, a unit specializing in international cooperation activities.

The members arrived in Pakistan in late August and conducted relief activities through Oct. 10.

Using UH-1 and CH-47 transport helicopters, the members transported about 260 tons of relief materials, including food, water and medical supplies, and about 50 relief workers, including U.N. staff, in an area near Multan in central Pakistan.

Millions of Pakistanis were affected by this summer’s deluges. It was the first time for Japan to dispatch a GSDF helicopter unit overseas as part of natural disaster relief since 2005, when one was sent to Pakistan after a major quake.