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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Earthquake Update; CARE Pakistan Appeal


Following up on my previous post on the earthquake in Kashmir and northwest Pakistan. On behalf of a friend, I also wish to pass on an appeal for one relief action that I personally know is doing some excellent work.

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This past weekend in Islamabad, President Pervez Musharraf, joined by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, headed an international donors conference for the earthquake relief efforts. By all accounts - perhaps in part due to low expectations - it was estimated to be a success. Both the local and international media praised the displayed generosity, see here for the Pakistan Times' glowing editorial and here for Bloomberg's representative news agency take. Now to gather the promised resources and put it all to the best of use.

As winter sets in, there has already been plenty of activity on the ground. Below I will briefly excerpt from an e-mail and a funding proposal for one such action. CARE Pakistan is concentrating on building viable long-term housing in the region. 100 houses have just been ordered and are due to arrive this week.

Nuria Rafique of CARE Pakistan wrote this first-hand account:


"I have just come back from a weekend in the northern areas - we managed, in the short time, to go to Abbotabad, Muzzafarabad, Ballakot, Bessian and Garihabibullah. The level of destruction is so immense that it is actually unbelievable what we witnessed. Of all the places we saw, the area of Ballakot was the worst - it was totally flattened - I don't believe that any locals could have survived as no buildings were left standing, the top storeys of houses were left flush with the ground and cars had been crunched and flattened. The people who are now there are from other areas who are either helping remove the rubble or who have come from far off villages in search of relief goods.

The scale of this tragedy is so enormous - the government, for their own reasons, do not seem to be telling the truth as far as casualties and aid relief is concerned. They, moronically, are more interested in painting a picture of them being in control, rather than saying how many people they have lost - the army itself has lost one whole battalion which was stationed in that area, but they have officially just said they have lost some 250 people…not possible. I promise you when I say that easily well over 200,000 people have already died from this earthquake....and if we are not quick to react, then more will die from disease and the cold. This tragedy is greater than the Tsunami, the terrain is so difficult, there are thousands of small villages dotted around the place...that are running out of time, if they haven't already....and just remember this is just the death toll in one country, Pakistan.

We visited some of the tent villages and met with the families there so we could get an idea of the type of homed we should build and which village CARE Pakistan should take on to rebuild. We also met with local government who are very keen on the idea of adoption and have put together a list of villages in the affected areas which can be taken on for adoption. However, in both the tent villages and in your conversations with local government, the position became very clear - tent villages are a very temporary solution - the best thing to do is to rebuild people's homes in the place where their old home stood, so that these people can get back on their feet as soon as possible. This has to be done sooner rather than later."


On their relief work, CARE Pakistan states:

"In order to prevent this disaster from creating even greater problems for the country, the focus now has to be on rehabilitating those who have survived and putting them back into the position they were prior to the earthquake. After having conducted detailed groundwork and meeting with the affected people, CARE concluded that the best way for these people to rebuild their lives quickly is if they are provided assistance in the form of permanent shelter. For the majority of these people, their homes were their entire livelihood – every penny they earned was reinvested in their house. Thus, it would take them another lifetime to be able to rebuild their homes back to the state that they were in – this is time that they neither have, nor can afford. CARE is committed to provide them with this assistance.
CARE Solution - “Adopt a Village” Programme
– CARE has previous experience in the area of rehabilitation. In 1988, CARE responded to another natural calamity when floods destroyed large areas of – CARE rebuilt the lives of people located in a village near Sheikhupura. CARE is committed to doing the same now. CARE has established an Earthquake Relief & Rebuilding Fund to provide long-term aid to those who have been left homeless. CARE shall adopt 6 villages in the worst hit areas of Azad Kashmir and Northwest Frontier Province, and shall construct seismically designed houses for the surviving village populations, as well as building CARE Schools in each area."



For more info please see CARE Pakistan's website and if you wish to donate, you can use any of the following methods (there is also a PayPal online donation option via the website) :

1. Cheques – you can send a cheque, made payable to “CARE” to CARE’s Head Office at:

21 Waris Road,
Lahore, Pakistan


Please write “CARE Earthquake Relief” on the back of the cheque.

2. Cash – you can either bring cash to CARE’s Head Office at 21 Waris Road, Lahore, Pakistan or deposit such cash in the following CARE account:

Account name: CARE
Bank: Oman International Bank
Account no:
0101-0009997-0001
Address: PAAF Building, 7-D Egerton Road, Lahore, Pakistan


3. Wire Transfer of Foreign Currency – for US Dollar, GBP and Euro fund transfer, please send to the following CARE Foreign Currency Account:

Account name: CARE
Bank: Habib Bank AG Zurich
Account no: 20316-333-187-081
Address: 14-B, Davis Road Branch, Lahore, Pakistan
Swift Code: HBZUPKKALHR


Please state in the wire transfer that the reference is: “CARE Earthquake Relief Fund”.

NOTE: For those living in the United Kingdom, donations can be made by cheque in GBP, payable to “Educare Pakistan” and sent to:

Educare,
10 Margaret Street,
London W1W 8RL, England


Please write clearly on the back of the cheque that it is for “CARE Earthquake Relief Fund”.

NOTE: For those living in the United States of America, donations can be made by cheque in USD, payable to “Pakistan Literacy Fund”, and sent to:

Pakistan Literacy Fund,
45 W, 60th St, #22K,
New York, NY 10023, USA.


Please write clearly on the back of the cheque that it is for “CARE Earthquake Relief Fund”

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Please note that CARE International is a separate entity from CARE Pakistan, potential donors are thus asked to donate to the latter as this will be more expedient.

I wish to reiterate that this appeal is not only completely legitimate but to my mind represents the kind of specific action that will make a difference. Thank you.

jo

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