ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, March 31 (UPI) -- The U.S. military has officially ended its relief efforts in earthquake-affected areas of northern Pakistan.
At a ceremony Thursday in Islamabad, U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Michael LeFever, commander of the U.S. Disaster Assistance Center Pakistan, officially announced the conclusion to relief efforts. He said U.S. helicopters will return to the battlefields of neighboring Afghanistan and all troops will be gone by April 15, The Asian Tribune reported Friday.
The United States delivered over 15,000 tons of humanitarian aid and airlifted over 3,000 injured victims of the Oct. 8, 2005, earthquake, which killed more than 80,000 people and left more than 3 million homeless.
U.S. Chinook helicopters "were here for the relief efforts and to ensure supplies were where they needed to be for winter," said LeFever. "With winter over, the roads open and the reconstruction phase under way, it is now time for us to move on."
Despite the end of the U.S. military's efforts, U.S. aid for the recovery will continue. The United States has committed more than a half billion dollars for relief and reconstruction projects.