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Quake relief pace a trickle

Saturday, October 16, 2004 12:47 PM | Deleted user
By Meera Rajagopalan 

Donor fatigue worries local organizations looking to help disaster survivors in Pakistan

Even as the toll in the deadly earthquake in Pakistan and India climbed steadily following a second wave of deaths, local organizations got their relief efforts off the ground. Organizations held several fund-raisers, but are finding it difficult to keep up the momentum, and relief seems to have slowed down to a trickle. “We’re already seeing donor fatigue,” said Justin Stone, president of the Association for the Development of Pakistan. “This (earthquake) will soon fade from the media’s eye, and we want to keep getting the word out there.” ADP has raised $175,800 for relief efforts so far, and was one of the first Pakistan-oriented organizations to start fund-raising efforts, 36 hours after the disaster.

ADP is now planning long-term redevelopment in the area, and is actively seeking organizations to support. “There is still a long way to go to redevelop the areas,” Stone said. Dr. Naheed Usmani, president of the Association of Pakistani Physicians of New England said, “The news about the earthquake seems to have disappeared already. There are still thousands of people dying there everyday.” Doctors from the national Association of Physicians of Pakistani descent of North America are already in Pakistan, and some members of APPNE will leave for Pakistan to help in relief efforts.

APPNE recently worked with the Indian Medical Association of New England for the first time, to hold a fund-raiser on Oct. 16 at the Massachusetts Medical Society. Dr. Purnima Sangal, president of IMANE, who initiated the effort, said, “There is no question of politics here. Human beings are suffering, and we should take care of them as physicians.” Around 200 people attended the event, which raised around $65,000. IMANE also worked with the India Association of Greater Boston and Saheli, to organize a fund-raiser at the Bombay Club restaurant in Cambridge, Mass. About 50 people attended the event, and the organizations are yet to decide on a beneficiary. The Pakistani American Association of New England, based in Providence, R.I. organized a fund-raising drive in association with the Islamic Center of Providence on Oct. 15, which raised around $4,000. Around 150 people attended the drive. PAANE is planning a charity concert after the Eid festival.

Realizing that many of the problems in relief efforts are due to lack of helicopters and means to reach the affected, ADP and the Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs of North America (OPEN) are independently mobilizing campaigns to urge local representatives to lobby for supply of additional helicopters to the region for relief efforts. To donate through APPNE, please visit http://www.appne.org/. To donate to the IAGB- Saheli initiative, visit http://www.iagb.org/. To donate through ADP, please visit http://www.developpakistan.org/. For donating to the president’s fund, visit the Pakistan’s embassy Web site at http://www.embassyofpakistan.org/.

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