10 October, 2005

Grassroots earthquake help

After my post following Katrina in which I slammed the Red Cross, I feel I should point people to respectable grassroots organizations raising money for the lastest, ever more catastrophic, catastrophe. Now I realize that I am not the guy around here with subcontinental cred, and this group might have political connections that other rhinocrats might abhor. All I know is that I got this message from someone whose politics I trust, my friend and colleague Gosia Wozniacka, who also assures us that the wonderful Muzamil Jaleel, in Indian Kashmir, is ok and reporting like mad.
From: farjad nabi ,

dear everyone,

as the scale of the disaster in the north of pakistan is sinking in, there is a massive outpouring of support from all over the world. we in Lahore got jolted pretty badly and since then there have been aftershocks everyday.

my phone is constantly ringing and i'm getting an email and SMS an hour, as it seems the whole city is raising funds for the earthquake victims. people are frantically doing wholesale purchases of blankets, tents, dried milk, flour and warm clothes, packing them up in individual packs and sending them off on trucks.

however the current situation is that most of the effected areas are still inaccessible by vehicles and what's more, the govenment/army have still not gotten their act together and coordination of relief efforts is inefficient to say the least. so there's a huge question mark over whether the goodwill of those who want to help will ever reach those who need it in time ?

in Pakistan there is the trusted name of Edhi Foundation which can be relied upon to deliver and people are generously donating to them. from what i gather, Edhi is working mainly in Muzaffarabad and the surrounding areas in Kashmir.

but for the hardest hit areas of Balakot, Mansehra and the adjoining villages, the best organisation to support is Sungi / Omar Asghar Khan Development Foundation (OAKDF). These people have been working in that area for the last 20 years and their head offices are in Abottabad, which has become the nervecentre for relief efforts.

Most importantly, they have knowledge of the local geography, conditions and routes which anyone from the outside would be unaware of. They have a loose network of grassroot workers spread over remote villages, so they are best situated to know what is needed and where.

If you'd like more info you can call

Ali Asghar Khan of OAKDF : 00-92-300-8565279

or if you'd like to make a direct donation, then
the relevant information is as follows:

for those outside pakistan:

Omar Asghar Khan Development Foundation

MCB Bank Ltd.



US Dollar A/C No: 0585-12-02-542-2


and for donations in Pak Rs.

PAK RS A/C: 0585-01-01-6019-3

thank you and please forward this email to those
who might be interested,


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