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Sunday, November 06, 2005

Letter from Earthquake Relief Front

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I got a message today from Ejaz Asi of ej eomag. I am copying the message at the end and my rejoinder as well. Just removing the email addresses to avoid spam. Also including my rejoinder.


I have also been thinking on many fronts lately but never had time to write in detail. His email provided an impetus to write down my thoughts as well. I am organizing my thoughts briefly under different topics and need help from my readers to update on issues as well as to spread the word about "Letter from Earthquake Relief Front" and to organize people for the following.

Providing relief and comfort to disables:
We should start collecting funds to provide prosthetic limbs and arms to survivors who have had legs and arms amputated. Is there anyone documenting the number of disables.

Adopting children
Also there is a need to adopt the children who have no one left behind. One of my colleague's wife 'Mrs. Chaudhry' has already inquired me, how she can adopt a child from Pakistan and bring here to US? It will be much better to provide good homes to orphans in good Muslim families. We need to setup things like that as well. Any thoughts let me know. We need to team up for future that lies ahead.

Emotional Therapy
The emotional therapy has to be done long way from now. May be we can invite specialists through VSO, Pakistan chapter from abroad as well. Once I trained/briefed their volunteers from three different countries in Muree, Pakistan.

Disability Laws
Pakistan also need to revise its disability laws and the new buildings especially in those areas must be friendly and accessible to people with disability. I feel that this is the most pressing task
that should be pressed ahead of time before the reconstruction starts.

Rebuilding and reconstruction
As complete towns are leveled so the government should re-plan towns and reallocate plots of land to homeless. The new homes and buildings must be designed to absorb earthquake shocks. They should incorporate all the housing amenities in those projects.

Any one willing to lend a hand or starting a programs like these please write to me. I want to be part of it.

All this can be done through NGO's at grass root level. I had been planning to write on this since the earthquake devastation but was unable to find a time block. I have worked with grass root level NGO's like Sungi Development Foundation, Ministry of Planning and Development, Govt of Pakistan, Academia, and consulting organizations in Pakistan so I have training in project planning. My experience in US has incorporated some foresight how things should be keeping in mind the future development needs.

Inshallah, I will write more on these issues.


Date: Sun, 6 Nov 2005 08:06:09 +0500
From:
ejazasi@...com
To: emullah@...com
Subject: Re: Comment: "Operation LoC"

hey I got ur message but because of short time and haphazard life that's been ever around me, I can hardly respond to anyone at my blog where I hardly go anyway... But wait a min, you said you r collecting funds or tents??? How do you plan to send those funds or tents and to whom? I just spent 10 mins on TV for news and got nothing out of it. it was all crap. I mean it may be great for average Joe that prime minister is going to A camp where children schooling has started and
they have toys. Now I am sure you must be familiar with how media tactics influence public opinion and if I am not wrong, this suggests that A camp where schooling has started and toys are available is equal to ANY camp that's out there which in fact is outrageous. Its actually bloody distorting the reality. The reality is we reached to a town after traveling 8-9 straight hours becoming the first team in 20 days, we treat patients, give them medicine for more bandages and we have no medicine left to move ahead so we fall back with another 8-9
hours walk on foot. And there are other 50 such villages still remaining. I am a great user of
documenting stuff but this disaster was so big and chaotic that I forgot to take any snapshots or arrange for such. But still my team mate Arfeen (therapist) had some video shots saved which I hope to put online and show you guys that almost EVERY camp is short of sanitation, electricity and proper Therapist's counseling. There's good enough food pouring in all the time, blankets and stuff yes. But even we healthy persons had to live on Imodium for five days coz we cd not sit in open for our toilet needs nor we were used to the desi-toilettes etc.. How the hell the patients wd use such things??? ummm again the last thing I want to say to you or do is Discourage. But for God's sake, just think about it for a sec. The funds you r collecting might have been meant for a fiance's ring, or little hina's picnic party or some body's car collecting money. If you don't spend those AMANATs properly on right people and on right time, how r you going to live with a guilt and wounded conscience??? hmmmm I have no idea what to do about it... I am just trying to contact any or every person I met half way in our trips who would give BETTER updates on which villages still don't have Prime minister's visited camps. And inshallah would update my blog and spread the word. We don't have to be frigging relying on these media giants all the time to feed our bunny heads. Its people money for the people which would be sent by the people, so why the heck govt. And media says that ITS BUSINESS AS USUAL whereas it's not. God be with those homeless and whose wounds still make our lives miserable because we have to live with a heavy heart we can't reach them.
ej

Ejaz

We sent first batch of funds to International Red Cross. Second one is going to PIA because it has tents and stuff for air lift. My other school KSU where I still need to go to finish my degree soon is sending money to Edhi. My friends and I are also sending our money to Edhi. I truly understand the situation you are talking about. I have been to these areas under normal circumstances and I know what it is like as they never had these amenities before the earthquake as well and know it will be even worse. I worked with late Omar Asghar Khan and his Sungi Development Foundation for two years at grass root level.

I want to do the same as soon as I get a break in summer from my teaching assignment here at UMT. I will visit Pakistan in summer 2006 and will definitely like to meet you. I cannot leave in the middle of semester. I am thinking that advising and undertaking long-term development and reconstruction projects is much better for me rather than packing up at the moment and rushing to Pakistan under an restless impulse. I may be able to do more by lending a hand at this point in providing funds and goods and reconstruction thoughts and advisory on frequent visits in future.


Thanks for your feedback.

....

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