Wednesday, November 09, 2005

SOS Pakistan/Kashmir/India

I don't usually, post messages on this blog suggesting that people give money to emergancy appeals. The reason for this is simple: no one actually reads the blog anyway, so what help is my relaying of an SOS actually going to do.

Still, in this case, I'm going to make an exception, for the reason that the situation in post-earthquake Pakistan/Kashmir/India is so dire that any extra help is crucial.

So, on the off chance that you have stumbled on this blog (wrong URL perhaps? virus on your computer?) please consider the following extracts from this CNN report:

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- One month after a massive quake rocked South Asia, the top U.N. humanitarian official called it a "race against time" to help more than 200,000 people in the higher mountainous regions of Pakistan.

Predictions for an "unusually harsh winter" meant the roughly 200,000 people above the snow line in Kashmir and the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan were in urgent need of help, Jan Egeland, U.N. Emergency Relief coordinator, said on Monday.

"We have to face what is happening now in Kashmir," he said. "What is particularly difficult in Kashmir is, of course, that people freeze to death if they don't get assistance in weeks."

The U.N. official said it was even more urgent to help survivors hit by the October 8 quake than survivors of hurricanes or tsunamis or even Africa, because of the freezing temperatures.

"So, this is the whole nature of the race against the clock that we have been talking about for some time. We have two, three, four weeks more before the whole area is covered by deep snow and the whole area is above the snow line of 2,000 meters (6,000 feet)."

As many as 20 percent of 200,000 people had not been reached at all and most of them had received "inadequate assistance," Egeland added. Another 150,000 people coming down from the high mountains and into camps would need assistance as well.

The death toll from the quake stands at 73,276 people, Reuters news agency quoted a government comission supervising Pakisatn's relief effort as saying on Tuesday.

Earlier a U.N. spokeswoman had put the toll at more than 87,000.

Several weeks into a disaster, aid crews typically move from life saving into humanitarian aid work, but Egeland said it would be a "marathon sprint" throughout the [northern hemisphere] winter, with life-saving work a necessity until the snowmelt in April.

Egeland called for more donations from Asian and "oil rich" nations, and said some countries should move their pledges towards reconstruction into relief aid.

In addition to cash aid, the United Nations needs helicopters as well as stoves to heat the half million tents they estimate will be used.

Because of what Egeland described as a weak reaction from corporations, the United Nations is appealing to the general public and private corporations.

"We have too little, really, from the general public and we have too little from corporations, compared to the enormous, enormous effort that we have going on today."

Asked why the response to tsunami relief had been so much greater, Egeland cited both the timing -- during the Christmas season -- and the television footage as factors.

"If there had been more images from more tourists of the actual earthquake and how it fell on the children and on the people and how people didn't drown in the wave, but they drowned in rubble, I think we would have seen more outpouring," he said.

Egeland's last point is worth noting: Despite the fact that the death toll relating from it is huge, the Asian earthquake has not led to anything near the flows of emergency assitance that followed the Indian Ocean Tsunami; yet money is desperately needed, and if it is not given 10s of thousands of people may die.

So if you are able, please consider donating. Oxfam's always been my favourite development agency so I have provided links to their websites below. But any reputable agency will do.

Oxfam New Zealand

Oxfam Australia

Oxfam Great Britain

Oxfam USA

Oxfam International


Anonymous said...

Ah, Terence: one month has elapsed since my last comment here, and a mere TWO visitor comments have been posted in that time. I feel sorry for you. I know you're desperate for more responses, so I'll start providing them again.
And, for the record, I have no pre-existing blogs. I lied about that.


Terence said...

Ah Chris,

why should a let a confessed liar post on my blog (and hey, isn't lying a sin?)

True - I wouldn't mind the odd additional comment. But it doesn't matter that much. More importantly I'd like people to give to the Pakistan Earthquake campaign though.

The great thing about having so few other commentators is that it is no effort for me to turn off the comments again.